Bootstrapping Innovation

Leveraging the Collective IQ to Achieve Powerful Results

June 3, 2010

The Doug Engelbart Institute's Bootstrapping Innovation system provides a structure for empowering people to solve complex problems together—leveraging the untapped potential of people, knowledge, and tools—to help us make smarter choices, achieve more brilliant outcomes, increase innovation capacity and overall effectiveness, thus reverberating benefits to society.

NETTING IT OUT

At our Spring 2010 Visionaries meeting, Christina Engelbart, executive director of the Doug Engelbart Institute and heir apparent to the visionary thinking of her father, Doug Engelbart, presented the concepts and action model for bootstrapping innovation. Christina has taken her father's considerable body of work to a whole new level, distilling the conceptual into an accessible, actionable strategy for Bootstrapping Innovation and Collective IQ.

Expanding and leveraging the Collective IQ of your people and putting them in the context of a Dynamic Knowledge Environment and a strategy and structure for increasing innovation empowers them to work together to solve complex problems, make smarter choices, and achieve more brilliant outcomes.

HEREDITARY INNOVATION

We have long been fans and followers of Doug Engelbart, a true visionary and innovator in both technology and human collaboration. Doug is now enjoying a well earned retirement, but his daughter Christina Engelbart has continued his research and mission to help people and organizations, both commercial and public, achieve peak performance, especially within initiatives aimed at making the world a better place.

Recently, Christina, a member of Patty’s Visionaries community, presented the mission and latest thinking of the Doug Engelbart Institute at our spring visionaries meeting.

Doug’s and Christina’s altruistic goal is to empower people to solve complex problems together, leveraging the untapped potential of people, knowledge, and tools—to help us make smarter choices, achieve more brilliant outcomes, increase innovation capacity and overall effectiveness, thus reverberating benefits to society.

We were all intrigued and stimulated by the Engelbarts’ vision of what people can achieve when working together on challenges that impact our businesses, our lives, and our world.

COLLECTIVE IQ

The Whole Is Greater than the Sum of Its Parts

All people have some level of intelligence and creativity—some more, some less. But when we put our minds and creative natures together…WOW…amazing things can happen.

Think about your organization. I’m sure you have a lot of really smart and even average people who contribute a lot of great ideas. And I’m sure that when some of these individuals work together collaboratively, either on formal teams or ad hoc, they come up with even richer ideas.

That’s a basic tenet of the Doug Engelbart Institute’s vision: to create an ecosystem of working together, creating a collective IQ that exceeds the sum of the IQs of the individuals in the group. And then put them in an environment where ideas are nurtured by leveraging the collective ingenuity of the group members to even greater heights.

Defining Collective IQ

In Doug's words, “Collective IQ is a measure of how well people work collectively on important problems and challenges—how quickly and intelligently they can anticipate or respond to a situation, leveraging their collective perception, memory, insight, planning, reasoning, foresight, and experience into applicable knowledge.”

Applicable knowledge—this is key! There is a practical aspect to the Institute’s vision that many “think tank” types of organizations fail to achieve—the ability to take their ideas and make them actionable in the real world of business and society.

In its simplest form, Collective IQ is a measure of how effectively a group can Concurrently Develop, Integrate, and Apply its Knowledge toward its specific mission (Doug affectionately coined the term CoDIAK to describe this goal).

But the Collective IQ is not just about people’s ideas. It also includes the knowledge they cultivate and the tools/technologies that they can use to enhance that knowledge. (See Illustration 1.)

Collective IQ

Collective IQ

© 2010 Doug Engelbart Institute

Illustration 1. The Collective IQ is a measure of how effectively a group can work together to solve important challenges leveraging the potential of the people, their knowledge, and the tools they use.

Dynamic Knowledge Repositories

Supporting your mission and your organization’s Collective IQ also depends on how effectively your group can capture, organize, share, and use the collective knowledge in dynamic knowledge repositories (DKRs).

Unlike the static archive of documents that most of us associate with repositories, a DKR should be a living, breathing, rapidly evolving repository of all the stuff accumulating moment to moment throughout the life of a project or mission. This would include successive drafts and commentary of a given document, brainstorming and conceptual design notes, design rationale, work lists, contact info, all the email and meeting notes, research intelligence collected and commented on, emerging issues, timelines, etc.

Thus, the DKR is an emerging collective record of all activity captured on the fly—the group memory of the Collective IQ. A DKR can become a comprehensive knowledgebase on a particular topic, including up-to-the minute information—what’s happening right now and what’s about to happen.

ABOUT COLLECTIVE IQ—IN HER OWN WORDS

By Christina Engelbart

Collective IQ is a measure of how effectively a given group of people can work toward a common goal—how quickly and intelligently they can anticipate or respond to a situation, leveraging their collective perception, memory, insight, planning, reasoning, foresight, and experience into applicable knowledge.

Whether seeking a cure for cancer, pioneering clean energy, turning around a disadvantaged community, or increasing market share, the complexity and urgency of opportunities and challenges we face are increasing exponentially on a global scale. Finding exponentially more powerful ways to collectively address important problems is critical. This is both a dire threat and a golden opportunity. Organizations, initiatives, regions, and nations that proactively increase their Collective IQ to the highest levels in the shortest timeframe will likely surpass those that don’t in leaps and bounds. Bootstrapping Innovation™ is a cost-effective strategic approach for accelerating progress toward this goal. It can be applied by teams, initiatives, and organizations, and readily scales up to a global strategy. The sooner we reach critical mass planet-wide, the better off we all are, and thus there is tremendous value in sharing best practices, and approaching Collective IQ as a Grand Challenge.

With increased Collective IQ, people become collectively more effective at identifying and assessing needs and opportunities, designing and deploying solutions, and incorporating input, feedback, and lessons learned. They are increasingly better at leveraging the people, ingenuity, knowledge, and tools that will contribute to faster, smarter, better solutions. Their innovation capacity increases commensurately. They apply these gains to enhanced execution of their missions, and to find faster, smarter ways to further increase their Collective IQ. As a group they experience increasing agility, ingenuity, effectiveness, productivity, and success, with reverberating benefits to organizations and society at large.

How to increase Collective IQ? It’s all about cultivating and harnessing an ...

 


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