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Swarm Creativity

Bill Jarrard's picture

This blog was first published in June 2008 but is worth repeating.

Swarm CreativityIn one of my recent Masters classes, one of my students presented some information on Swarm Creativity, which I had not previously heard of by that name.  While the class worked on a team projects I was able to power browse the book, and later did a bit of research on the web.

The book Swarm Creativity: Competitive Advantage through Collaborative Innovation Networks by Peter A. Gloor is an interesting look at group creativity.  A quick Google search takes you to which opens with the following:

We are at the dawn of a new way of working together, thanks in large part to technological advances that allow a radically superior mode of innovation than ever before. Swarm Creativity introduces a powerful new concept – Collaborative Innovation Networks, or COINs.

A Collaborative Innovation Network (COIN) is a cyberteam of self-motivated people with a collective vision, enabled by technology to collaborate in achieving an innovation by sharing ideas, information, and work. People work together in a structure that enables a fluid creation and exchange of ideas. It may look chaotic from the outside, but the structure of a COIN is like a beehive or ant colony, immensely productive because each team member knows intuitively what she or he needs to do. It is no exaggeration to state that COINs are the most productive engines of innovation ever. COINs are powered by swarm creativity.

While a fascinating look at the power of groups and networks in the creative thinking process, I wonder if the use of the term swarm is truly applicable, given the ‘nature’ of the swarm as described in this great article on

Gloor offers us much to think about and I know from my own experience with facilitating both small and large group creative thinking activity that when a group is well focused and facilitated using creative thinking techniques, and possibly empowered with technology such as Zing or MindGenius, the power of creative thinking can be significant.

I recommend those interested in group creativity have a look at Swarm Creativity and I’d value your thoughts and to hear about your experience with group creativity.