It takes more than smart people to make smart teams.
It has been a good week to discover "best practices" for smart and successful teams, at least in the press. This weekend I read no fewer than six separate, yet related, pieces on this topic. Unsurprising, as each article and blog entry catalyzes others in our omni-connected world.
Here's the theme:
“Groups of smart people can make horrible decisions — or great ones. Psychologists have known for a century that individuals vary in their cognitive ability. But are some groups, like some people, reliably smarter than others?”
In a nutshell the answer is "yes." Groups with specific characteristics consistently behave "smarter" than others - “collective” or “group” intelligence and team productivity are distinguished by 3 shared attributes:
Productive teams have members who effectively read the complex emotions of others. Testing of this ability includes “Reading the Mind in the Eyes,” whereby one reads subject's emotions by simply looking at photographs of their eyes. You can take this test yourself, right here. Smart teams go beyond the ability to read facial expressions and achieve a more general skill, known as “Theory of Mind,” to keep track of what other people feel, know and believe.
Finally, “teams with more women outperformed teams with more men.”According to the MIT study, the effectiveness of having more women on a team may derive from “the fact that women, on average, were better at “mind-reading” than men.”
The "Avengers" would perform better with more women on their team
For productivity, fill your team with humble, empathetic professional women.
Further, the studies illustrate that "social sensitivity" is a skill not a personality trait. And, significant in our world of growing physical disconnection, the research indicates that these empathy skills are valuable to group success both on- and offline.
The source of these stories stems from clinical research published in the journals “Science” and PLOS One based upon research conducted at The Center for Collective Intelligence at MIT.
One well-written article on this subject is from the researchers themselves (Anita Wooley, Thomas W. Malone and Christopher Chabris) as it appears in The New York Times “Why Some Teams Are Smarter Than Others.”
Nine years and 19 million YouTube views later, Steve Jobs's commencement address to Stanford University's graduating class of 2005 has achieved iconic status.Jobs, the Apple visionary who died in 2011 at age 56, delivered a speech that resonated far beyond the Stanford audience, with a masterful mix of personal anecdotes, sparks of insight and universally applicable pieces of wisdom. Each year, especially around graduation season, people discover and rediscover Jobs's speech and its messages for those who seek meaning and purpose in life and at work. - Carolyn GregoireNote that Steve Jobs originally asked Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin to write this speech: Sorkin was not available. - DJKFull text of Steve Jobs' commencement address to Stanford University 2005 "I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college gradu…
Dinner Is Printed
By A. J. JACOBS - New York Times
THE hype over 3-D printing intensifies by the day. Will it save the world? Will it bring on the apocalypse, with millions manufacturing their own AK-47s? Or is it all an absurd hubbub about a machine that spits out chintzy plastic trinkets? I decided to investigate. My plan: I would immerse myself in the world of 3-D printing. I would live for a week using nothing but 3-D-printed objects — toothbrushes, furniture, bicycles, vitamin pills — in order to judge the technology’s potential and pitfalls.
I approached Hod Lipson, a Cornell engineering professor and one of the nation’s top 3-D printing experts, with my idea. He thought it sounded like a great project. It would cost me a mere $50,000 or so.
Unless I was going to 3-D print counterfeit Fabergé eggs for the black market, I’d need a Plan B.
Which is how I settled on the idea of creating a 3-D-printed meal. I’d make 3-D-printed plates, forks, place mats, napkin rings, candlesticks —…