Good Morning Toronto

The most striking thing about Toronto is its people. It’s a place where diversity is reflected in every face in the crowd, from groups of friends to couples and families. Walking along Queen St on a Saturday afternoon gives me hope. Here is a community that realises the sociological, cultural and cognitive evolution that Gene Rodenberry envisioned.

The Bizarre and the Marketplace

With over 1500 attendees, Agile 2008 is the largest collective of Agilistas I’ve ever seen under one roof. In typical Torontonian fashion, its diversity is represented by more than 400 sessions across 19 tracks in just 4 days. The variety of sessions makes for interesting reading, but I find myself constantly wondering what I’m missing out on. Sometimes too many options is a bad thing when their cost outweigh their value.

Group Smarts

The key attraction for me was James Surowiecki author of The Wisdom of Crowds. James asserts that ‘groups of people can be remarkably intelligent’. He believes that crowd intelligence improves the closer they are to the ground.

According to James, hierarchies are a problem because they create incentives for people to conceal information, to do what their bosses want, to game the system. The result: a flawed information system.

Dream Team

James reiterates that the secret to teamwork is collaboration. First we assemble a team of appropriate people, then we create the right conditions.

Quality collective work requires three ingredients:

  • Aggregation – so that deliverables reflect group judgment to smooth the fluctuations in information quality
  • Diversity – cognitive diversity is what makes a group smarter – sociological diversity isn’t enough
  • Individuality – because people facing the same direction don’t realise when they make the same mistakes

I dare you defy mediocrity. Trust in the group smarts of your team.

One Response to “Good Morning Toronto”

  1. Thinking for a Change » Agile 2008 - Thursday writes:

    […] Core provides us with tools to enhance team communication and alignment. When we want to achieve collective greatness we need to aggregate the strengths of the team members. If we want to achieve mediocrity, we can […]

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