Collective Intelligence for Better Business

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As CompanyNet adopts a new look and a new slogan, Amie Stevense thinks about big data, working in collaboration, and the application of collective intelligence


Photo: In Flight by Don McCullough, used under Creative Commons

“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” – Aristotle

There could be no quote better suited to describe CompanyNet’s re-energised focus – except for our new tag line of course! For us it is the whole, or the collective, that really determines excellence. On our own, we may achieve great things but together that achievement is magnified tenfold and this is what our new tag line: “Collective Intelligence for Better Business” aims to express.

To give you a little insight into where this reasoning comes from, it might be time for a little more explanation. We have been very busy going through a process of growth this year that has also included many exciting changes. As well as the big move to Edinburgh city centre we have worked with Emperor Design to create a new look and feel for the company. This is something that we are all excited about and we feel that our new image fully encapsulates the essence of CompanyNet. The design process has been very in depth and our main goal going in to it was using this time to really explore what CompanyNet means, who we are in other words.

It was during this process that the phrase ‘Collective Intelligence’ was suggested. It immediately resonated with us because of the power behind those two simple words. ‘Collective Intelligence’, as we see it, has manifold meanings and uses. In its simplest form, it represents the coming together of the various minds that make up the company, but on another level it represents the relationship we build with every business that we work with. Our strength lies in our ability to work with your company in a collective manner, partnering our expertise with your knowledge to build the perfect system for you. We form a relationship that aims to fully understand the purpose and functions of your business to help you make it stronger.

It is not only CompanyNet that believes in the strength of collective intelligence. We see it repeated throughout nature where it is responsible for some of the most complex and fascinating systems on earth. Swarm Theory, as it is known, is the inspiration behind our new imagery. The flocks of birds that you see at this time of year creating flitting patterns in the sky are not flying arbitrarily here and there; they are guided by swarm theory, or collective intelligence; the same goes for many groups of animals such as ants, bees, shoals of fish. A common denominator between all of these species is their adherence to a collective intelligence of sorts. For example, every bird in a flock is guided by seven points of reference, they are aware of only these seven points but the genius lies in the fact that this is repeated for every bird, meaning that when one bird spots a threat, or a need for change, the whole flock responds. Thus, as Iain Couzin, a biologist at Oxford and Princeton Universities, explains; “Even complex behavior may be coordinated by relatively simple interactions.”

We also see this influence in ‘Big Data’ (the term for a collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using on-hand database management tools or traditional data processing applications). The power behind the correct utilisation of big data is only just been recognised and is something many of our employees enjoy thinking about more than say, ants and birds, for example. But whichever example of collective intelligence you prefer its power is undeniable and that is why we use it. It’s simple really, Collective Intelligence for Better Business, it just makes sense.

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