05 Jan 2012
Whether the group is smarter than the individual depends on the individual.
Individuals who produced amazing results
Teams that produced amazing results
Werner Von Braun
NASA in the sixties
The Roman army
Sparta at Thermopyle
Conceivably, a group made up of outstanding people would also be outstanding, but I doubt it because to exercise its advantages a team can only pursue one vision at a time.
Assigning a team to support a virtuoso can shorten delivery time, and it can extend his reach, as NASA extended the reach of Von Braun. It is uncommon for people of rare talent to be suited to teamwork because it is difficult for them to communicate or even instruct lesser mortals. From their point of view the people around them really are slow and small of mind.
The Roman army is a good example of how mediocre people can be extremely effective when they are systematic, consistent and act in concert. The success of the Roman army also demonstrates the helplessness of virtuosity when opposed by vast concerted mediocrity.
Unless indicated otherwise, all blog entries for On Second Thought are original works by Peter Wone