Environmental decisions are often deferred to groups of experts, committees, or panels to develop climate policy, plan protected areas, or negotiate trade‐offs for biodiversity conservation. There is, however, surprisingly little empirical research on the performance of group decision making related to the environment. We examined examples from a range of different disciplines, demonstrating the emergence of collective intelligence (CI) in the elicitation of quantitative estimates, crowdsourcing applications, and small‐group problem-solving. We explored the extent to which similar tools are used in environmental decision making. This revealed important gaps (e.g., a lack of integration of fundamental research in decision‐making practice, absence of systematic evaluation frameworks) that obstruct mainstreaming of CI. By making judicious use of interdisciplinary learning opportunities, CI can be harnessed effectively to improve decision making in conservation and environmental management. To elicit reliable quantitative estimates an understanding of cognitive psychology and to optimize crowdsourcing artificial intelligence tools may need to be incorporated. The business literature offers insights into the importance of soft skills and diversity in team effectiveness. Environmental problems set a challenging and rich testing ground for collective‐intelligence tools and frameworks. We argue this creates an opportunity for significant advancement in decision‐making research and practice.
Director at Learning Change Project – Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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