Making Dumb Groups Smarter

When there are many who contribute to the process of deliberation, each can bring his share of goodness and moral prudence…some appreciate one part, some another, and all together appreciate all. The key is information aggregation: Different people take note of different “parts,” and if those parts are properly aggregated, they will lead the group to know more (and better) than any individual.

Many groups end up thinking that their ultimate convergence on a shared view was inevitable. Beware of that thought.

Leaders can refuse to take a firm position at the outset, thus making space for more information to emerge.

Smarter Groups?

Silence the leader.
“Prime” critical thinking.
Reward group success.
Assign roles.
Appoint a devil’s advocate.
Establish contrarian teams.
The Delphi method.

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