Smarter Teams; Smarter Use of Technology; and a Smarter You – Three “Unrelated” Items for a Little Weekend Thinking


I went on a middle-of-the-night reading binge last night. (Couldn’t sleep). So, three thoughts, all from my reading…

Thought #1 – we’ve got to make our teams smarter.

This comes from Why Some Teams Are Smarter Than Others by Olimpia Zagnoli. She writes well about time wasted and effort wasted by teams done badly. And she proposes three ways to make teams smarter (all research-based…). Here are the three findings/suggestions:

Instead, the smartest teams were distinguished by three characteristics.

First, their members contributed more equally to the team’s discussions, rather than letting one or two people dominate the group.

Second, their members scored higher on a test called Reading the Mind in the Eyes, which measures how well people can read complex emotional states from images of faces with only the eyes visible.

Finally, teams with more women outperformed teams with more men. Indeed, it appeared that it was not “diversity” (having equal numbers of men and women) that mattered for a team’s intelligence, but simply having more women. This last effect, however, was partly explained by the fact that women, on average, were better at “mindreading” than men.

Thought #2 – we’ve got to be smarter using our technology.

This one is not yet available to watch. But, in an upcoming debate at the great site IntelligenceSquaredUS.org, they’ve got quite an upcoming debate (May 13) on SMART TECHNOLOGY IS MAKING US DUMB. Here’s the descriptive paragraph:

Smart technology grants us unprecedented, immediate access to knowledge and to each other—a ubiquitous and seamless presence in everyday life. But is there a downside to all of this connectivity? It’s been said that smart technology creates dependency on devices, narrows our world to echo chambers, and impairs cognitive skills through shortcuts and distraction. Are smart tech devices guiding so much of our decision making that we are losing autonomy without even realizing it? Or are these concerns an overstatement of the negative effects of high-tech consumption?

I look forward to this debate.  Just click over to take a look at the speakers debating the issue.  (Nicholas Carr, author of The Shallows, is one of the voices arguing for the motion).

Thought #3 – We need smarter people; you need to be a smarter you.

This was the read for the weekend/month…maybe year. It is a very thoughtful, provocative essay: Among the Disrupted by Leon Wieseltier. Here’s the opening of the essay:

Amid the bacchanal of disruption, let us pause to honor the disrupted. The streets of American cities are haunted by the ghosts of bookstores and record stores, which have been destroyed by the greatest thugs in the history of the culture industry.

And a few more excerpts:

And even as technologism, which is not the same as technology, asserts itself over more and more precincts of human life, so too does scientism, which is not the same as science.

Aside from issues of life and death, there is no more urgent task for American intellectuals and writers than to think critically about the salience, even the tyranny, of technology in individual and collective life.

There is nothing soft about the quest for a significant life.

TecnnopolyThis essay reminded me of the warnings and insights of the still more than relevant Neil Postman in Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology. Mr. Postman wrote this in the early 1990s, just before Netscape opened up the masses to the internet and the world wide web. After I finished reading this essay, I pulled my copy of Technopoly off my shelf, and re-read the opening pages. The essay, and Postman, made me think…

Anyway, let me say in the strongest possible terms, READ THIS ESSAY! It will help you think about being a smarter you in the midst of the current technology-rich cultural rumblings.

That’s it for this Saturday…

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