The concept of “collective genius” refers to the idea that innovation and success in any endeavor are not solely the result of individual brilliance or talent, but rather emerge from the collaborative efforts and diverse perspectives of a group of people. It emphasizes the power of synergy that arises when individuals with different backgrounds, skills, and perspectives come together to solve problems, generate ideas, and make decisions.

The term was popularized by Linda A. Hill, Greg Brandeau, Emily Truelove, and Kent Lineback in their book “Collective Genius: The Art and Practice of Leading Innovation.” In the book, they argue that truly innovative organizations foster an environment where diverse individuals are encouraged to contribute their unique insights and expertise, enabling the collective intelligence of the group to surpass what any individual could achieve alone.

Key principles of collective genius include:

  1. Diversity: Bringing together people with diverse backgrounds, expertise, and perspectives enhances creativity and innovation by introducing a variety of ideas and approaches.
  2. Collaboration: Encouraging open communication, teamwork, and collaboration allows individuals to build on each other’s ideas and insights, leading to more innovative solutions.
  3. Trust: Creating a culture of trust and psychological safety is essential for individuals to freely express their ideas, take risks, and challenge conventional thinking without fear of criticism or rejection.
  4. Empowerment: Empowering individuals to take ownership of their work, experiment, and make decisions fosters a sense of ownership and commitment to achieving collective goals.
  5. Adaptability: Embracing uncertainty and being willing to adapt and iterate based on feedback and new information allows groups to respond effectively to changing circumstances and opportunities.

Overall, the concept of collective genius emphasizes the importance of harnessing the collective intelligence and creativity of a group to drive innovation and achieve success in today’s complex and rapidly changing world.