Political parties are very unusual kinds of organizations, whose collective intelligence could be very interesting to look at. They consist of professional politicians, paid party workers and volunteer members, together with an ecosystem of think tanks and other hangers-on.
The question of organizational intelligence is about the power of an
organization to think powerfully and coherently, and the power to learn
and solve problems quickly. How does a political party become aware of
new opportunities and threats in the socioeconomic environment, or new
situations that call for a coordinated political response? How does a
party develop and evolve stories and narratives, to make sense of new
situations? How are policies developed, tested and agreed? How do new
ideas (including new problems and new solutions) travel through a
political organization, and is this different from the way ideas travel
through other kinds of organization? How do different communication
mechanisms and technologies (e.g. meetings, internet forums, social
networking) affect the development of a coherent political consensus?
@mrianleslie sees the problem in terms of diversity. Having too many clever men around Ed Miliband is making the Labour Party stupider (New Statesman, 25 June, 2014). Clearly that is an important factor, but it is not the only one.
We are more accustomed to looking at these questions in relation to large commercial
organizations or government bodies. Enron is a fascinating example, because it was packed
with talented people, but the business was incoherent. Microsoft is
another fascinating example, because everyone imagines (wrongly) that
the decisions are all taken at the top. Perhaps party organizations
would like to be like Microsoft, but end up more like Enron. So how can
parties get better at thinking?
I am keen to make contact with anyone who would be interested in exploring
this question - either from within one of the political parties, or as
an outside observer.
Political parties and organizational intelligence 2 (June 2015)
Updated 25 June 2014