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Forget the Wisdom of Crowds; Neurobiologists Reveal the Wisdom of the Confident

Forget the Wisdom of Crowds; Neurobiologists Reveal the Wisdom of the Confident
Way back in 1906, the English polymath Francis Galton visited a country fair in which 800 people took part in a contest to guess the weight of a slaughtered ox. After the fair, he collected the guesses and calculated their average which turned out to be 1208 pounds. To Galton’s surprise, this was within 1 per cent of the true weight of 1198 pounds. This is one of the earliest examples of a phenomenon that has come to be known as the wisdom of the crowd. This phenomenon is commonplace today on websites such as Reddit in which users vote on the importance of particular stories and the most popular are given greater prominence. However, anyone familiar with Reddit will know that the collective opinion isn’t always wise. It turns out that if a crowd offers a wide range of independent estimates, then it is more likely to be wise. The theory behind their work is straightforward. So how to identify confident thinkers. Related:  Collective Intelligenceknowledge management

In State of the Union, Obama Sets an Ambitious Agenda WASHINGTON — President Obama claimed credit on Tuesday for an improving economy and defiantly told his Republican adversaries in Congress to “turn the page” by supporting an expensive domestic agenda aimed at improving the fortunes of the middle class. Released from the political constraints of a sagging economy, overseas wars and elections, Mr. Obama declared in his sixth State of the Union address that “the shadow of crisis has passed,” and he vowed to use his final two years in office fighting for programs that had taken a back seat. He called on Congress to make community college free for most students, enhance tax credits for education and child care, and impose new taxes and fees on high-income earners and large financial institutions. “We have risen from recession freer to write our own future than any other nation on Earth,” Mr. Obama said in an hourlong address to a joint session of Congress seen by an estimated 30 million people. Continue reading the main story

COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE It's also possible for groups of people to work together in ways that seem pretty stupid, and I think collective stupidity is just as possible as collective intelligence. Part of what I want to understand and part of what the people I'm working with want to understand is what are the conditions that lead to collective intelligence rather than collective stupidity. But in whatever form, either intelligence or stupidity, this collective behavior has existed for a long time. What's new, though, is a new kind of collective intelligence enabled by the Internet. Or think of Wikipedia, where thousands of people all over the world have collectively created a very large and amazingly high quality intellectual product with almost no centralized control. If we want to predict what's going to happen, especially if we want to be able to take advantage of what's going to happen, we need to understand those possibilities at a much deeper level than we do so far. Why are we doing all this work?

Cynefin for Devs Every now and then, someone comes up with a new way of looking at the world that becomes the next fashionable thing to do. Every time I’ve seen this, there’s usually a space of time in which a lot of people say, “Meh, it’s irrelevant”, or “Meh, consultants”, or “Meh, they’re only in it for the money.” After a while, things settle down and everyone is used to that new model or concept, and it’s no longer seen as edgy or strange. I’d like to shortcut some of that with Cynefin, because I think it’s kind of cool, I’ve found it useful, and it’s not actually that hard to get your head around once you make the small mindshift. Some of us went to the Calm Alpha meet up, created a list afterwards, and have been using it to discuss which kinds of software can be categorised by which domains. So here’s Dave’s Cynefin model. Dave Snowden, released under CC BY 3.0 – thank you! The Cynefin model consists of four domains – simple, complicated, complex and chaotic – with disorder in the middle. Simple

Japan: No word from ISIS on hostages as deadline draws nearer Japanese officials have said they are doing their best to communicate with ISIS, which threatened in a video released Tuesday to kill two Japanese citizens it's holding within 72 hours if it doesn't receive the huge sum it's demanding. But Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Thursday that Tokyo had so far heard nothing and doesn't know what situation the two hostages, Kenji Goto and Haruna Yukawa, are in. Japan has said it would try reaching the ISIS captors through third parties, like governments in the region or local tribal leaders. "We are aiming to save them as soon as possible," Suga said Thursday. Time is of the essence: the Japanese government says it estimates ISIS' ultimatum will expire at 2:50 p.m. Help from Jordan? The government of Jordan has told Japan it will do as much as possible to try to secure the release of Goto and Yukawa, according to Suga. Jordan, one of the Arab nations taking part in the U.S. Video raises new questions about 'Jihadi John'

Making Dumb Groups Smarter - HBR Since the beginning of human history, people have made decisions in groups. As the saying goes, two heads are better than one. If so, then three heads should be better than two, and four better still. The advantage of a group, wrote one early advocate of collective intelligence—Aristotle—is that “when there are many who contribute to the process of deliberation, each can bring his share of goodness and moral prudence…some appreciate one part, some another, and all together appreciate all.” Unfortunately, groups all too often fail to live up to this potential. “Groupthink” is the term most often applied to the tendency of groups to go astray. Since Janis produced his theory, though, psychologists and other behavioral scientists have built up a rich base of evidence on how and when individual decision makers blunder. A smaller but nonetheless substantial body of research—some of it our own—has focused on the decision-making strengths and weaknesses of groups and teams. Amplifying Errors

14 Things I’ve Learned About Content Curation In Social Media We recently published a post called “50 Random Things I Have Learned About Social Media Marketing” that quickly became one of our most viewed posts of all time. It was obvious that many people appreciate a clear and concise post that lists actionable items and truths about effective social media marketing. We decided to apply the same principle to a post about content curation. Content curation is something that has been written about quite extensively, however most people still don’t seem to understand what it is and how to be effective with it in social media. Let’s start off by assigning a definition to content curation that is easily understood. As the founder and CEO of Bundle Post, an experienced social media marketer and previously a social media agency founder, I have a lot of time and effort invested in understanding and effectively using social content curation. 1) Knowing your audience and what they’re interested in is imperative. Like this: Like Loading...

Brendan Rodgers praises Jordan Henderson’s leadership for Liverpool | Football Jordan Henderson has been praised for his willingness to protect his team and colleagues by Liverpool’s manager, Brendan Rodgers, following the midfidler’s tunnel row with Diego Costa. Liverpool’s vice-captain was involved in an angry confrontation with the Chelsea striker following Tuesday’s Capital One Cup semi-final first leg at Anfield, which involved the pair being separated in the tunnel by a member of the home team’s staff. Rodgers refused to be drawn on the incident on Thursday, and did not witness the spat, yet was full of praise for Henderson’s leadership qualities. Rodgers, who claimed his team can challenge for the Premier League title again next season, said: “Jordan was searching for his status at the club when I first came here; now you see his leadership qualities on and off the field. He will protect his team and colleagues and he does it with great pride.” “I think this squad has Premier League-winning capabilities.

Chinese Thinking and Complexity By Greg Fisher Last week I attended an excellent conference in Singapore, which had the intriguing title of “A Crude Look at the Whole”. The title was attributable to Murray Gell-Man who was one of the founding fathers of the Santa Fe Institute and also the winner of the 1969 Nobel Prize in Physics. Gell-Man is famous for a few things, including being the first to postulate the existence of quarks. It was an excellent and wide-ranging conference, organised by Jan Vasbinder of the Complexity Programme of the Nanyang Technological Universoty (NTU). Don’t worry, my question is not based on some flimsy notion of Confucian group-think. Let me summarise this research very briefly. Now, I am not for one moment saying that being aware of both foreground and background means Chinese people have superior thought processes. This also fits neatly with the Chinese philosophy of Daoism, which has a great deal in common with Complexity theory. Share this Article:

The 4 legs on the Knowledge Management table It's very easy to develop an unbalanced perspective on Knowledge Management, especially when we work closely with the topic, but it is something that we should strive to avoid. I was listening to someone describe their Knowledge management Framework recently. They described their portal, they described the roles that support the portal, they described the processes that support the portal, and they described the governance elements they had developed around the portal. As I listened, I reflected that they had the elements of KM, but had a one-sided perspective. Let me explain what I mean. The 4 legs on the table There are 4 enablers that support Knowledge Management, like 4 legs that support a table. All of these elements are mutually supportive. Yes, the roles support the portal, but to an equal extent the portal supports the roles. Like the 4 legs on a table, the 4 elements of KM are all equally important. Balance your perspective.

King of Saudi Arabia Has Died At 90 King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has died at the age of 90 and will be succeeded by Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz. According to an official statement from the Royal Council, King Abdullah passed away at 1AM local time in Saudi Arabia on Friday. The official statement added that the funeral procession will be held in Riyadh after evening prayers on Friday. Meanwhile, Crown Prince Salman has appeared on Saudi state television mourning King Abdullah. Deputy Crown Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz, who was Saudi Arabia’s intelligence chief between 2005 and 2012, will replace Salman as Crown Prince Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Interior Mohammed bin Nayef has been named the Deputy Crown Prince. Saudi Arabian television channels run by MBC have meanwhile started playing Quranic verses to mourn the death of King Abdullah, who came to power in 2005. King Abdullah had suffered from pneumonia in December and was hospitalised for treatment, raising concerns over the King’s health. Who is the new king?

How to Make Better Decisions Together Learning how to make decisions together is a crucial element of getting along and getting things done with others. It’s wise for your group to learn how to steer your boat together with collective decision-making before you have a sinking ship on your hands. I’ve learned these skills through workshops, readings and from living and working in cooperatives and they have been incredibly valuable to the success of these projects. Collective decision-making has innumerable rewards. A strong example of collective decision-making is participatory budgeting which often leads to less contentious, more inclusive budgetary decisions – not an easy challenge. NYC participatory budgeting, courtesy of the Participatory Budgeting Project Collective decision-making isn't as much about how we vote on decisions as it is about the process of hearing and incorporating all sides. Consensus flowchart by Grant Horwood There are 3 key ingredients to effective collective decision-making: Group Mind Facilitation

How do we transfer knowledge through everyday meeting talk? It's not too often I get the opportunity to help out someone who is doing some really fascinating research into Knowledge Management and conversation. So could anyone help out Lesley Crane please? Lesley is a final year PhD student investigating organizational knowledge work - knowledge transfer and sharing. Her study focuses on how such work is accomplished in everyday meeting talk. She is looking to engage with organizations who would be willing to take part in her study. If you would like to help please get in touch with Lesley via email @ If this approach intrigues you as it does me then you will find two of her past papers here