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The Power of Collective Wisdom

Collective wisdom is defined as the shared knowledge arrived by individuals or groups; knowledge that helps makes life easier and more enjoyable, through the understanding of human behavior. Collective wisdom is not to be confused with collective intelligence, which purpose is to make life easier and more enjoyable through application of acquired knowledge. In the business world, collective wisdom can be an effective tool for solving the problem of knowledge deficit, or the under utilization of organizational knowledge.

However, despite the importance of knowledge and the financial potential in harnessing it, a recent study by the Delphi group found that enterprises use less than 20 percent of the knowledge available to them. That’s why it’s important for corporations to nurture collective wisdom and invest (either time or money) in tools that help reach that goal.

These tools can range from brainstorm meetings where employees are encouraged to freely share their own ideas down to a corporate mission statement that establishes practical methods for empowering workers, creating new products, etc’. At the base of the premise lies the idea of tapping into the collective wisdom of the company and its employees as a whole.

A new form of corporation helps achieve that goal in a simple way; I’m talking about virtual corporations. When you set up a virtual corporation you’re getting an immediate boost to your knowledge base. You don’t only have the wisdom of your employees and your companies’ knowledge at your disposal, but the employees and knowledge of the other companies in the corporation as well, and at no additional cost.

After all, a virtual corporation works as a collective, striding towards a shared goal. The notion of collective wisdom is the golden key in achieving that goal. It works best when companies embrace that they are now a single unit instead of different companies under a different name, each trying to increase profit by exploiting the other. Still, information is useless unless you can get it across. That’s why it’s important for virtual corporations to effectively communicate the collective wisdom to managers, staff, and the entire organization as a whole.

The bottom line is that if you are a small, medium or large business, and you don’t have a method in place for harnessing and managing your organization’s collective knowledge, you may be losing opportunities for significant revenue enhancement. Because at the end of the day knowledge = money.

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