Benefiting from Virtual Participation
Recent studies have shown that the whole may truly be greater than the sum of its parts, particularly when it comes to decision making. Decisions that are made using collective intelligence, or a group’s combined thoughts and perspectives, often lead to increased group or community performance, and ensure that future actions are supported by the majority. So, can collective intelligence enhance your decisions?
Leaders in governments, organizations, and businesses can all benefit from implementing collective intelligence into their decision-making processes. As an example, we can imagine a city government that is trying to allocate its yearly municipal budget. Rather than the elected officials deciding where to distribute funds on their own, they can ask their constituents about which projects and initiatives they deem worth pursuing, and which are less important. Using this intel, officials can both make stronger decisions that their constituents support, and also encourage citizen engagement in community affairs.
Similarly, companies and organizations must often make decisions that directly affect their employees and members. These include decisions regarding brand image, internal policies, and organization. In these instances, the leadership can reach out to their departments or members to receive input, allowing them to be better informed. Not only will the decisions be made with various perspectives in mind, but they will also help increase employee and member satisfaction.
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has made the face-to-face interactions, like meetings and assemblies, that are usually involved in gauging the opinions of constituents, members, or employees difficult, if not impossible. Luckily, there are tools available that can provide a virtual platform for sharing perspectives and opinions, making collective intelligence possible and easy, even while participating online.
Maintaining a virtual platform for this purpose even comes with its own benefits. Those who may not have the time or availability to attend a community meeting, for example, will appreciate being able to contribute their opinion from anywhere, at any time, and on any internet-connected device. This is particularly relevant now, with the Coronavirus pandemic making large public gatherings unsafe. Furthermore, people with disabilities will appreciate a platform that is accessible to their needs.
Such online participation platforms can help governments and organizations reach broader swaths of citizens and members than they would otherwise be able to do. They can also be beneficial in connecting companies with offices in multiple locations or with remote employees, and can even be utilized within specific departments, such as Research and Development, in which brainstorming and debate are crucial processes.
With a virtual participation platform in place, you can be sure that each one of your decisions is made with the collective intelligence of your constituents, members, or employees. As a result, you will be able to make strong decisions with increased legitimacy, thanks to the inclusion of multiple perspectives and voices.