Success can be measured in a million different ways, but if you’re after better team working skills, being a social butterfly will take you far.
That’s according to new research from the London School of Economics, anyway. Dr Michael Muthukrishna and his co-author from Harvard University, Professor Joseph Henrich, took a look at what makes us smarter over time. What they discovered was ‘cultural knowledge’ that’s absorbed when we mimic other successful people is what makes the human race smarter and smarter.
When our caveman forebears evolved, they were picking up the ‘culture’ of those who were successful by hanging out with them. They ate the same foods, hunted with the same tools, for example, without really knowing why.
Together, all those brains working together and mixing ideas led to a collective intelligence that brought about innovation.
Good team working skills come from being around other successful people.
Just like our ancient ancestors, we too can pick up knowledge from those around us by hanging out together. Of course it’s not just ‘hanging out’ but more complex and deeper connections that come from working together.
Innovation in society happens the same way: a large mix of diverse brains causes new ideas to erupt more frequently. We get smarter as a whole.
Collective brains are smarter than individual brains.
What the professors in this study noted was that abilities do vary from person to person. However, that was less of a factor than what the collective brain could do. The mere fact that an individual is working within a group environment means his or her brain will become smarter.
We see this as just another reason to hone your team working skills!
Innovation and creative problem solving are best in a group.
The two professors argue that sociability that derives from an interconnected society means more ideas should emerge. As those ideas emerge, they interact with other new ideas and incredibly high levels of innovation should result.
“To be an innovator, it’s better to be social rather than smart. “
-Dr Muthukrishna, London School of Economics
Of course we already know these things, having run team working skills workshops for years now! When individuals get together on teams, everything gets better…innovation, productivity, morale, and more.
Teams also benefit from hearing the diverse opinions of their colleagues. In fact, the professors who organized this study say the best thing one can do towards creativity is to always be in discourse with people who disagree with you.
So, next time you want to polish your team working skills, try seeking out those in your office who just never see eye to eye with you, and watch innovation blossom!