Strategic Knowledge Management – Digital Control of Swarm Intelligence

Friday, 11. November 2016

In management theory, the intelligence of the many is portrayed as superior to that of a homogeneous group such as a board of directors. Nonetheless, so-called swarm intelligence is a phenomenon that occurs by chance and is therefore hardly capable of controlling strategic processes for a company. Our article, which was published in the trade journal BI Spektrum - Issue 04/2016, shows how strategic intelligence software can control swarm-intelligent processes and harness them for strategic planning by introducing IT-based processes that allow for the collection und connection of hard and soft data.

Many companies consider strategy development to be a management prerogative. Who knows the company, market and competitors better than top management? And who else would be better equipped to gaze into the future with regard to innovations, trends and political developments if not the C level of a company? However, it also happens to be the farthest removed from the operative level that is to be strategically controlled – and where, as sociology and management theory both agree, true strategic intelligence lies. Nowadays, the cascading model of a management perspective is set against a more participatory approach. Criticism of management decisions is presented with the argument that the intelligence of a homogeneous group with regard to age, gender, education and social status (as is the case for company leaders) is inferior to the ‘intelligence of the many’: Years ago, sociologist James Surowiecki’s worldwide bestseller “The Wisdom of the Crowds” already used a wealth of examples to show that as a general rule, a group is cleverer than its smartest member. But only if its composition is inhomogenous. Because homogeneous groups, i.e. those with similar members, tend towards conformity, towards consensus, towards reliance on routines – and only rarely towards discovery of the new.

The full article is available for download here: Articles on Strategic Planning