2010 adventure  
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The coming Age of knowledge

2010: The Virtual Future

Managing Coll. Intelligence



Smart Mobs



Collective Intelligence management

Author: Olivier Zara


Price: 20 euros
Format: 15 x 21
Nb of pages: 184
ISBN: 2-9520514-7-X (previous ISBN : 2-9520514-1-0)

How to build intellectual synergy within the enterprise

How will business performance be measured in the future? As we move from an industrial and commercial society toward an information society, and globalization blurs national borders, simply knowing how to produce and sell products efficiently is not enough. As that playing field is leveled, companies find that the easiest way to grow and gain market share is to acquire competitors—or be acquired and assimilated by a competitor.
As knowledge and information become capital resources, we are seeing the emergence of the intelligent enterprise. It is built through the fostering of Collective Intelligence and the adoption of Knowledge Management tools. When these are effectively harnessed through information technologies, the result is Amplified Intelligence—a cooperative, synergistic outcome that will become a dominant competitive advantage within the near future.

A first draft English translation is available. Minimal work is required for publication.

The author

Olivier Zara is the founder and president of Axiopole, a company that provides training and consulting on collective intelligence management and publishes software to facilitate team management and work group performance through Amplified Intelligence. He began his career as an army officer in administration and finance, and has served under the UN and NATO. After graduation from the Ecole Militaire Supérieure d’Administration et de Management (EMSAM), he earned a law degree and a postgraduate degree in Military History. He is fluent in French and English.

Reader comments

"This book fascinated me. It is a remarkable contribution that will help us meet a true challenge" -- Nicole Notat, CEO of VIGEO, European social assessment agency

"A clear and practical book that explains collective intelligence to every employee of a company" --Pierre Lévy, Director of the Canada Research Chair in Collective Intelligence at the University of Ottawa:

"Relying on collective intelligence: everybody talks about it, but how do we really do it? Olivier Zara's book ensures that those who really want collective intelligence can take up the challenge with a clear, complete, structured and ambitious approach, that fits in with managers' day-to-day reality and any company's internal culture"
-- Anne-Sophie Patin, CEO of Sillage Communication Consulting

"An original; exciting and visionary. Let's hope many managers are inspired to
make their companies smarter." -- Benoit Hediard, Founder, Affinitiz, Collaborative Software Company:

"What struck me most is the pragmatism. Unlike the theoretical point of view of many writers, this book is a real best practices guide to succeed in the coming business revolution." --Miguel Membrado, CEO of Mayetic, Collaborative Software Company

"This book is noteworthy for its concepts and pragmatic methods. It is an archetype for anyone who wants to develop collective intelligence within his or her company right now." --Guillaume Lamothe, Senior Project Manager, Roland Berger Strategy Consultants

"As soon as I finished reading this book, I was able to implement the tools and methods
suggested and improved my own management skills." -- Pascal Vedel, Change Management Director, Shell Petrochemical Mediterranean:

Table of Contents


1. Fostering the Emergence of an "Intelligent Enterprise "

  • The three pillars of the intelligent enterprise
  • False cooperation: you think you are cooperating, but you aren't!
  • Case Study: WDHB Consulting
  • How collective intelligence emerges
  • Case study: Altran Group

2. Becoming a Manager of Collective Intelligence

  • Individual and collective management: Creating trust
  • How the collaborative process works (the AXIO matrix)
  • Impact of the collaborative process

3. Accelerating and optimizing the decision-making Process

  • Why do some managers resist collective reflection and consultation?
  • Are group decisions by consensus mandatory
  • Organizing collective thought
  • Unorganized collective thought
  • Individual thought and decision-making
  • Building a participatory management that develops potential

4. Managing Collective Intelligence and Knowledge with AXIO

  • Gather and share information (S1)
  • Consider (S2)
  • Consult (S3)
  • Decide (S4)
  • Exploit and share information (S5)
  • Act (S6)

5. Information and Collaboration Technologies: developing e-management

  • The collaborative intranet: a marketplace approach
  • Capitalizing and sharing information
  • Systems protection and regulation
  • From functional KM to operational KM
  • From e-collaboration to e-management: Using intranets for team
  • management

6. The desire to Cooperate: How Values Affect Cooperation

  • Cultural and psychological foundations of collective intelligence and KM
  • Intercultural cooperation
  • Mapping collective-intelligence and KM values

7. Knowing How: Being Cooperative and Getting Cooperation

  • Diagnosing different management approaches using AXIO
  • Knowing how to manage collective intelligence
  • C. Getting people to cooperate

8. The Road to Cooperation: From Dream to Reality Without Nightmares!

  • The intelligent organization: balancing order and chaos
  • Running an intelligent organization: the AXIO 2 matrix
  • Establishing a sustainable approach to KM

9. A real life experiment in collective intelligence

  • How do you think collective intelligence is managed in your
  • organization? Have you learned from experience? Any Case studies you can contribute?
  • What approach, tools and methods do you recommend for developing
  • collective intelligence within your organization?




  1. Self-diagnostic Questionnaire
  2. How To Manage a Team
  3. Sample Collaborative Contracts

Excerpt--Chapter I

Nurturing the Emergence of an Intelligent Enterprise

“The ant is a collectively intelligent and individually stupid animal; man is the opposite.” --Karl Von Frisch

In this quote, behavioral specialist Karl Von Frisch implies that we should develop our collective intelligence while maintaining individual intelligence. If we cannot mobilize our collective intelligence, would we have to become like ants to do so? And how could we become like ants while we act like ostriches? Why do I compare humans to ostriches? Because both use social tricks to avoid noticing when people behave the opposite of ants!   
    Howard Gardner, a Harvard University psychologist, says there are at least eight forms of individual human intelligence: Verbal (for communicating), Rational (logical/mathematical), Musica l (giving meaning to sounds), Spatial (perceiving and reproducing images), Kinesthetic (controlling body movements), Intra-personal (ability to understand oneself), Interpersonal (empathy and ability to understand others), and Naturalist (understanding one's environment).   
    Thus, there is a “set” of individual intelligences. Collective intelligence is the intelligence created by connections and relationships . Some people also
define it as connective intelligence, “a global brain,” symbiotic man , or relational intelligence. At its core, collective intelligence is about harmonious connections. These connections foster cooperation. As such, collective intelligence is the ultimate result, or manifestation, of intellectual cooperation.   
    According to Pierre Lévy, Director of the Chair of Collective Intelligence Research at the University of Ottawa , “the best possible use of new technologies is not artificial intelligence (AI), but collective intelligence: We should program computers not to imitate humans, but to help humans think and develop their ideas collectively.” CI helps humans think in unison, where AI attempts to limit human error by substituting data processing for humans.       
    In an organization, managing collective intelligence means combining all of the tools, methods and processes that enable connection and cooperation among individual intelligences in order to achieve a common objective, accomplish a mission or complete a task. To manage the collective intelligence of an organization is to cultivate a dynamic of intellectual cooperation among individuals (interpersonal cooperation); foster internal cooperation among teams and entities (for example, through a collaborative intranet); and develop external cooperation with the organization's customers, vendors, and even competitors. Cooperation with customers and vendors is called as the extended enterprise . Cooperation with competitors is called “coopetition,” a contraction of cooperation and competition , meaning that we are competitors but we can still cooperate. For example, two industrial competitors can cooperate in shipping their products, assuming competition is not derived from the function of distribution, but only from how customers rate the products themselves.

A. The three pillars of the intelligent enterprise

As I stated, the information society is gradually transforming industrial and commercial companies into intelligent enterprises. Those that fail to evolve in this direction risk falling out of sync with today's emergent society.
    The intelligent enterprise rests on three pillars: collective intelligence (the quantity and quality of intellectual cooperation), knowledge management (the quantity and quality of knowledge) and information and collaboration technologies (the quantity and quality of software, hardware and networks that facilitate relational and information flows)   
    Quantity does not necessarily mean having the most cooperation, knowledge, or software, but the optimal amount for a given situation and the organization's needs.
    These three pillars are continuously interactive; they are inseparable and complementary. Acting on one also requires advancing the others to reestablish congruity among the three. If one is missing, the enterprise will not be operating in the realm of intelligence but in some other dimension! As illustrated below, each pillar must be given equal importance, and their development must be coordinated.

  The vital energy of the intelligent enterprise resides in intellectual cooperation , or cooperation interactions. This applies both at the interpersonal level (between two or more people) and the inter-organizational level (between teams, divisions, companies, countries, and so forth.). But cooperation requires that people come together, which in turn requires movement.
    Throughout human history, cooperation has been limited by our capacity to move from point A to point B on foot, by boat, by plane. With the advent of the telephone and then the internet, the possibilities for cooperation are now obviously extraordinary. But technology advances faster than culture, which has been forged and passed down from generation to generation as a function of limited technological means of cooperation.
    Intellectual cooperation can be defined by several characteristics:

•  Cultural values .

•  Time and technologies . Cooperation evolves with the development of technologies that make face-to-face or remote human interaction possible.

•  Space . We cooperate more with those in our close physical proximity. But the virtual space of the internet has greatly extended that proximity.

•  Organizational strategy, structure, daily operations , and dynamics . There is constant interaction among these factors, and that interaction influences the quantity and quality of cooperation.
    But what we experience in everyday life is often false intellectual cooperation

B. False cooperation: you think you are cooperating, but you aren't!

No one openly denies the need for cooperation. Everyone says and thinks cooperation is needed, because that is the politically correct attitude. But unfortunately, cooperation as currently practiced is often a pretense used to optimize personal gain. This is not necessarily done consciously at the expense of the group, but nonetheless lacks real concern for the group's welfare.
    Here are a few clues for distinguishing between cooperation and non-cooperation. These comparisons may help you see how much genuine cooperation you actually practice:

I am not cooperating when:


- I participate in a one-on-one or group meeting.


- I communicate about an issue (or receive information), answer a question I am asked, or help originate ideas when asked.


- I manage a team or project and help others because my manager asked me to.


- I try to obtain maximum resources from the organization to achieve my objectives under optimum conditions, and try to maximize gains in negotiations (a good margin from customers and the highest salary from my employer).


These actions have to do with communication, management, or negotiation. They are necessary and useful, but they are not cooperation.

I am cooperating when:


- I give information to someone I think needs it, even without being asked.


- I devote some of my efforts to helping others do their work, even though it doesn't help me achieve my own objectives. I do this because it contributes to collective performance. I do it spontaneously—not because my manager told me to.


- I formulate and spontaneously propose ideas to improve the performance of my organization.


- I try to build win/win relationships. I care about others' interests as much as my own, but without letting others walk all over me. I want to win, I want the other person to win, and I want the community to win.


The tasks of managing, communicating and negotiating are all just as essential as cooperating. But to advance cooperation, you first need to distinguish it from these other endeavors. You might cooperate in the context of a meeting, but simply participating in a meeting does not in itself mean you are cooperating.
    Do you agree? Why? You may believe you are cooperating, but are you really?
    On a collaborative intranet where this concept was discussed, Florence Imberti responded to these questions by saying: “If I understand correctly, I am cooperating when I show initiative, when I help my neighbor with his or her work, when I am imaginative and creative, and I do all of this in the common interest of my personal fulfillment and the success of my company, right? So when do I do the work I was assigned? How do I reconcile the two in the day-to-day environment?" (Or, how do I get work done and simultaneously cooperate?)

Establishing a collaborative contract supported by an ethic of collaboration

Thank you, Florence ! This heartfelt comment is full of common sense, and gets right to the point. It expresses how torn we might feel between an ideal toward we strive to achieve and the no-nonsense reality that gets the better of us day-to-day. The ideal is, “United we stand!” The reality is, “Every man for himself.” We are judged on the basis of a social contract that says we are paid to achieve our individual objectives, not those of the next guy. Florence calls it “the work I was assigned” because it seems improbable to her that her manager would ever “assign” cooperation as a work objective. So it follows that using my time to help others is a waste of time, because it is not something I was explicitly told to do.

 The current social contract is implicitly based on non-cooperation.

Of course, cooperation does exist, but it is neither required nor expected by the social structure. It is informal.   
    In response to Florence Imberti's comment, another participant, Florent Lafarge, suggested, “We certainly won't move toward collective intelligence without a new social contract. We might call it a collaborative contract that would specify relational rights and obligations according to cooperative behavior. Observing that collaborative contract would bring about a change in behavior and a shift in values toward an ethic of collaboration .”  
    End of discussion—or almost. We need a new social contract based on an ethic of collaboration to specify which behaviors are acceptable and desirable, and which are not. According to this new ethic, people would be evaluated based on their ability to cooperate (a new criterion for individual performance). Even more importantly, top management should set an example by upholding this ethic on its own.


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