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“It’s elementary, my dear Watson.”

In Facilitating Genius, High Tech on February 19, 2011 at 1:36 am

What if you could harness the wisdom of a network of geniuses?  What if you could process information at the speed of IBM’s WATSON or even DEEP BLUE?

E.N.I.A.C. calculated trajectories at the US Army Ballistic Research Laboratory.

Our use of electronic computers is short-lived.  E.N.I.A.C.’s computing power was harnessed to assist with the calculation of ballistic trajectory for WWII-era artillery.

Today some are lost without the assistance of their iPhone, Android, and/or GPS-enabled personal mini-computers that help us coordinate a meeting with co-workers or friends, locate the nearest Thai restaurant for our lunch-time meeting, and/or helps us select the best movie house to visit with that special someone (perhaps met through an on-line dating service).

The performance of WATSON on Jeopardy earlier in the week captured the attention of many.  Some claimed this machine had an unfair advantage ‘buzzing in.’  Others were perplexed by this computer’s betting strategy.  If you’ve got 30+ minutes, consider hearing from the computer scientists who programmed Watson.

IBM's Watson out-paces two Jeopardy champions on national TV.

So imagine what we can do within a group decision-making situation if we’re assisted by a Certified Professional Facilitator -and- we have access to a network of geniuses.  We can harness the knowledge, skills, and abilities of our subject matter experts present and easily accessible.  We might broaden our team with connections to experts outside our immediate problem-solving team.

A friend and colleague of mine from the Mid-Atlantic Facilitator Network suggests that we always keep an empty chair in any meeting room where we’ve gathered a team to tackle a wicked problem.  This chair then becomes a visual reminder to all assembled that there’s expertise available to the group that may not be present in the room.  There is know-how and answers and technology to be harnessed even when we’ve reached a consensus among those present.

Just as Sherlock Holmes — fictional detective who lived at 221b Baker Street, London, England — would proclaim as he solved a forensic mystery, “It’s elementary, my dear Watson,” we too need to consider the elementary importance of today’s computers and the connectivity of the world-wide-web.

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