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Swarm Creativity: At the heart of it all

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What are you passionate about? I am Peter Gloor. I am research scientist at the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence and my big passion is COINS. Collaborative Innovation Networks and that's something that I have been fascinated with for a very long time. I was in industry for 10 years as a manager for two big consulting firms and what I found out is that much more than technology really matters is people and new ideas. And what I found is that if I was working together with likeminded people in those COINS (Collaborative Innovation Networks) that was the time I was most energized most and it was the best thing to really create new ideas, new work, just solve any big problems of the world. So, that's really the big thing those COINs that I have been studying for now the last six years or so. What would you like people to know, think, feel and do? So, what would I like people to know, think, feel? I think it's about working together, about another standing, about all members of a swarm. And in this COINs, this Collaborative Innovation Networks, for me they are the main building blocks of those self-organizing groups of people that I call the swarms. I have stumbled upon this idea of the swarm by chance, when I was in Paris with my children and we were looking for restauran On the first day we ended up on top of Montmatre, which is the place where all the tourists go. So what we really did at that time: we did not follow the swarm, we followed the crowd. The food was o.k. There were tons of tourists. Next day we went to the concierge of the hotel and we asked his advice and we got good food at very high price. So that was asking the expert. The last day we followed the swarm, which means we followed the locals and we got by far the best food at a very decent price. So this concept of the swarm and swarm creativity is something that everybody should be aware of and being part of the swarm that makes us feeling good. It's just this unbelievably energizing group or part or feeling or thing where we can change the world. There are so many applications of this swarm creativity. And that starts by just instead of running a project as a conventional project if you run it as a self-organizing swarm you will get much better results. I have a very simple rule in that regard and that means not pay people in the beginning. Just advertise what you want to do. Then hopefully you will find some people, they might join you, some might leave you. But overall you get better results, you get the people that care, you have much more fun doing it and you get unbelievable results. I have seen that for example building our own software it was a slow process. I went through many graduate students, but what we got in the end that was, is a great product, that actually analysis swarms. Swarm Creativity is .... Working together & being part of one world. I will really go about this, the aspect of what creative swarms can do. How we are putting it into productive use One thing that the swarms do is, they express themselves in blogs and online forums and so on. If we look at what they say we assume that they put their money where their mouth is. Or to phrase it differently they will tomorrow what they say today. Or to phrase it even more differently we can predict what's gone happen tomorrow by reading the collective mind of the day. That's the project we are doing right now. We call it Collective Prediction. One think which we did and it's of course now easy to say that today's predicting the success of Barack Obama. The point is it compared what people were saying on blogs, like Huffington Post, and so on More than 18 months ago and sadly Hillary Clinton had always very low buzz and Barack was able to raise incredible exitement there. That predicted very well what happened. But you can also apply the same thing for much more -say forward- things like what movie will be successful at the box office. Because people will ...(?) with their feet. So they say, "I am going to see that movie" and if we look at online forums like for example the Internet Movie Database there we have the people that are passionate movie goers, talking about what they would like to see. That will predict where they go tomorrow. So it's a very fancy way of reading the mind of the swarm and predicting what people are doing tomorrow. The same thing we can also do if we look at email communication inside companies. The same thing we can do if we look at interaction networks through social badges which are all things that people ware around their necks and we can then put that to use for example by finding the most creative individuals. We can help groups of people or individuals to be more creative based on their interaction patterns and the goal is always to empower the individual to form a self-organizing swarm by exposing those patterns of interaction the positive patterns of interactions. This allows us to predict which are the most creative teams and how we can make them more creative. We have done projects, for example between Japanese and American researchers and we measured how they communicate with each other and what we found is that in the beginning and we had big, we represented every researcher as a big circle. The size of the circle was how active somebody was and the color of the circle was how much the people paid attention to what the person was saying. In the beginning we had three or four very big white circles and some small green circles. Now your might wonder which ones were the Japanese which ones were the Americans. I think you might guess how it was. The point is we showed those circles to the researchers every evening. What we got in the end is a very well balanced group of somewhat intravert Japanes that were saying much more, of extravert Americans that were saying too much in the beginning but in the end all of them and very quickly became very engaged active collaborators. So, this is a great system of increasing group creativity and making everybody a much better creative person. I think that's perhaps enough for now. Our generous thanks to Peter Gloor. Institute for Economic Network (I-Open)

Video Details

Duration: 8 minutes and 17 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: Institute for Open Economic Networks
Views: 162
Posted by: ralflippold on Mar 23, 2010

Peter Gloor, Research Scientist, MIT talks about COINS - Collaborative Innovation Networks. Peter shares his insights into the value people and new ideas bring to solving the big problems of the world. He describes what is important to him as a global leader in technology and how his passions have lead to new discoveries in creativity and innovation.

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