it’s all about drawing synergy from the team.
Perhaps you’ve heard of the term groupthink. Psychologist Irving Janis, who coined the term, hypothesized that people in small groups build team spirit by unconsciously creating shared illusions that interfere with critical thinking. This interference comes from people shying away from confrontation and simply agreeing with one another.
But not conforming is a source of real value. Independent expression and thought are tremendous assets in any team.
So the research team at The Good Judgment Project decided to see if teamwork would influence accuracy. They did this by creating online platforms where forecasters who were assigned to different groups could communicate with one another.
At the very beginning, the research team shared insights on group dynamics and cautioned the online groups about groupthink. At the end of the first year, the results were in: on average, those who worked in teams were 23 percent more accurate than individuals. The second year, the research team chose to place superforecasters, as opposed to regular forecasters, in groups and found them to vastly outperform the regular groups.
However, the group dynamics were also impacted. One superforecaster, Elaine Rich, wasn’t pleased with the result. Everyone was overly polite, and there was little critical discussion of alternative viewpoints. In an effort to rectify this, the groups put in extra effort to show that they welcomed constructive criticism.
Another way to increase teamwork effectiveness is through precision questioning, which encourages people to rethink their argument. This is nothing new, of course, as great teachers have practiced precision questioning since the time of Socrates.
Precision questioning means getting to the finer details of an argument, like by asking for the definition of a particular term. Even if opinions are polarized on the matter, this questioning reveals the thinking behind the conclusion, which opens it up to further investigation.
One of the great examples of precision in questioning from groups would be the famous wisdom of the crowds’ example, basis which the Fashion Trend Tournament is designed at Design wolf studdio.