MIT’s Andy Pentland says the best decision-making environment for good ideas to spread is one with high levels of both “engagement” and “exploration.
The best decision-making environment, Mr. Pentland says, is one with high levels of both “engagement” and “exploration.” Engagement is a measure of how often people in a group communicate with each other, sharing social knowledge. Exploration is a measure of seeking out new ideas and new people.
Mr. Pentland arrived at this insight through his research on how good ideas spread, dubbed social physics.
His insight that engagement and exploration are necessary ingredients to accelerate innovation in any environment isn’t new. An environment with high degrees of engagement and diversity will yield better decisions, most innovative companies have both of these ingredients in bunches.
What is new, is that Mr. Pentland has been able to map idea flows using data. In the workplace, and in cities!
So, for those of you who are persuaded by research, there is now data to back up the fact that trust needs to exist in a group and/or organization for innovation to happen. Ideas from everywhere, remember?
In the video below, from a Google Talk, Mr. Pentland dives a little deeper into his research on how good ideas spread, including how it happens in cities:
Bottom line: An environment that has no significant or diverse idea flows is a workplace where people don’t trust each other. People simply won’t express themselves, and valuable points of view will be ignored and more of the same thinking will prevail. Without trust creative collaboration is not possible.