The accuracy of the group is far greater than the individual.
– Marcus du Sautoy
In 1906 a cow died. It was put on display at a local village fair as the subject of a guess-the-weight competition. While no one guessed the correct weight, everyone’s collective guesses resulted in an average, accurate assumption.
The BBC recently tested the wisdom of the crowd by asking 160 people the number of jellybeans in a jar. The answers ranged from 400-50,000 – as it is incredibly difficult for any one person to deduce the correct number. The BBC posits that the same number people will underestimate the number of jellybeans as will overestimate it. Provided you ask enough people, the errors should cancel each other out.
The average of the combined 160 guesses was 4,515. A mere 0.1% away from the real number: 4,510.
Teamwork relies on the same underlying principles. As an entrepreneur and small business owner accustom to working as both an individual and in a small group, I can attest to the productivity, efficiency, and increased ability to make informed decisions and strategy recommendations when working within a group.