Jelly bean joy

I've culled this extractfrom the archives at blogger itself to illustrate Surowiecki's smartness, and some of the emerging theory which surrounds collective action. Very relevant to all modern marketing. And critical to those of us trying to herd communities of stakeholders into a consensus - for example around the perservation of biodiversity. "The Amazing Jelly Bean Experiment Treynor asked his class to estimate how many jelly beans there were in a jar. When added together and averaged, the group's estimate was 871— there were 850 beans contained within the jar. Only one student had made a better guess (a rogue genius, if you will). The now historic jelly-beans-in-the-jar experiment showed invariably that a group estimate is superior to the vast majority of individual guesses on a consistent basis. Granted, there are limited situations in which knowing the amount of jelly beans in a jar is a significant accomplishment. Or even mildly amusing, come to think of it. Nevertheless, this example can be found along with 320 pages of other examples in a new book by James Surowiecki called The Wisdom of Crowds. In his book, Surowiecki demonstrates myriad situations where the many are smarter than the few. "If four basic conditions are met, a crowd's 'collective intelligence' will produce better outcomes than a small group of experts, Surowiecki says, even if members of the crowd don't know all the facts or choose, individually, to act irrationally. 'Wise crowds' need (1) diversity of opinion; (2) independence of members from one another; (3) decentralization; and (4) a good method for aggregating opinions." —Publisher's Weekly " Anyone for blogging?


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