When the gameshow Who Wants to be a Millionaire made its original television debut, each contestant was provided with 3 “life lines” when they weren’t sure of the correct answer. One of those life line options was called “Ask the Audience”. The thought process behind this option is ultimately thinking that the collective has a better chance to get the question right the contestant alone.
I spent the earlier part of this week at Harvard with 85 Entrepreneurs learning and discussing strategy. The process began by reading a case study and then having a group discussion about it. We spent time discussing our individual view points and validating them to the group and every time the group solution was better.
The power of collective thinking when problem solving is quite powerful in solving complex problems. Partnering with a group works well since we come from different experiences and therefore bring in different viewpoints that we have perhaps not even considered. This theory that larger groups are collectively more capable to provide a quality solution to a problem or provide a correct answer has been around for some time. Author James Surowiecki wrote a book about this theory, appropriately titled “The Wisdom of Crowds”. In the book, he states that crowds can be “smarter” due to their diverse range of opinions, open-mindedness and culture of collaboration.
At J2, we foster an environment of collaboration. When we have a problem, we solve it together, and if I have a question, I know I can go to anyone in the office for a fresh perspective. Our ability to work together to find the best answer or solution is what makes our team so strong. As a matter of fact, “Team” is one of our Core Values; we actively contribute and support each other to achieve the best possible outcome.
This weekend, if you have a question you can’t answer or a problem you can’t solve, use your “Ask the Audience” life-line. The collective answer of a group will likely be the best one.
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller