For Isaac Newton it was an apple, for Enswarm founder Joe Kay, it was a perplexed General.
An Army General was explaining the difficulties of fighting Al Qaeda and the Taliban, due to them operating in flexible cells, without a traditional command and control structure. Responding to the challenge of problem solving without the traditional reliance on hierarchy resonated with me as I had been reading The Smart Swarm by Peter Miller, which explains how species such as ants, bees, termites, and sparrows tackle complex problems by leveraging their collective intelligence.
So, this got me thinking. If humans could learn from ‘swarming’ species, could we communicate, participate, and ultimately work together more effectively? This was the start of my journey to create Enswarm, a family of digital tools to increase the effectiveness of collaborative problem solving.
The difficulty is that humans are much more single-minded than animals. Bees and ants are naturally focussed on the needs of their communities, whereas humans primarily focus on their personal objectives before those of the group. As a result, it is only in elite, highly trained teams that humans learn to suppress their personal agendas to the collective good, and I wanted to democratise this elite behaviour.
The answer I realised in the digital age, would be to design digital tools to align individual motivation with group success and this led to the development of a family of SwarmTools with good leadership and best team work practices hard coded into them, to promote effective teamwork and decision making for individuals, communities and businesses.
Enswarm exists because I believe the world needs a platform that enables everyone to engage in constructive, bias-free, collaborative problem solving and enables us all to make a difference. So, my aim is for Enswarm to provide everyone with the tools they need to participate fully and effectively in communities, teams and in life, no matter who or where they are, so they can be heard and valued.
Here’s a great summary of the lessons from the Smart Swarm: http://www.missiontolearn.com/2010/10/smart-swarm/