Why collaborative intelligence, not design thinking

My ever alert spidey sense tells me that BusinessWeek‘s next issue, or very very soon, will be covering the concept of either "collaborative intelligence" or "social text" or "blog, wiki, conversations, cluetrain" as data points towards a forthcoming global knowledge convergence. Perhaps intelligence amplification through machine enhancement is a kind of artificial intelligence. But I’d like to stake my claim, time stamped and dated, to saying "you heard it here first".

The fact that global competition is paring away at the United States’ comparative advantages in the world economy is undeniable, and the fact that "left brain thinking" or "MBA speak" alone will not be enough as these skills are rapidly acquired by the developing world point undoubtedly towards Pink’s "Conceptual Age" and Nussbaum’s "Empathy Economy". For background reading to this assertion, with respect to the design industry, all referenced articles are listed here.

Therefore, the insight, that Nussbaum best articulated in his interview of Tim Brown, "IDEO’s collaborative design process" eventually resurfaced as the placeholder name "design thinking" for the lack of a better term to best explain the concept.

Since then, the term has created more debate, more discussion and more noise amongst the business oriented design community and design oriented businesspeople than any other. Chiefly, I believe, due to the words themselves. Design thinking could be think like a designer, think about design, applying design methods to other areas, help others who are not designers think like them, in essence, it’s about creativity, empathy and multidisciplinary teams coming together in synergy. Therefore, I believe it should be renamed for it become more accessible.

Let’s take for example the fact that perceived barriers to entry for many of those for whom it’s most essential to learn start with the word design. It conjures up images that your above average product management or marketing professional considers with stage fright. Whereas if you were to ask someone, "can you collaborate?" " are you intelligent?" you would most likely get affirmative answers. Contrast that to asking a team of accountants "can you design?" "are you creative?" . Even if we believe that every human being has the power to be innately creative, most adults have denied their abilities in their professional roles which emphasize the left brain skills.

Furthermore, if we look up ahead even a short time in the future, this "global knowledge convergence" is already in place. Take Google as an example of an application that allows you to taste the information rich world wide web. So, then, collaborative work processes, thinking, linking and dialogue are all on the horizon. It’s dawn.

An afterthought, here is a reference to a Harvard Business School excerpt that draws from the best practices of IDEO and DesignContinuum. The irony? They are called "technology brokers" and referred to throughout the article as such.

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One Response to Why collaborative intelligence, not design thinking

  1. Perspective says:

    Cover story bingo

    I can’t but say how pleased I am to see BusinessWeek’s October 3rd cover story, especially these words, At the same time we may see a rise in new forms of Web-based organizations where people can contribute without having their

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