Using a Supermind to Design a Supermind: A Case Study of University Researchers and Corporate Executives Co-Designing an Innovative Healthcare Concept
MIT Center for Collective Intelligence, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2020
38 Pages Posted: 9 Jun 2020
Date Written: March 31, 2020
In 2019-2020, the Collective Intelligence Design Lab (CIDL), an initiative of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence (CCI), worked jointly with Takeda Pharmaceutical’s Center for Scientific Leadership and Innovation (CSLI) to address a challenge faced by Takeda. This paper describes the collaboration as a case study of university researchers interacting with company executives to explore the potential of a new approach for undertaking organizational design.
The joint CIDL-CSLI project involved 38 executives from across Takeda applying principles from Thomas Malone’s book Superminds to address an important business problem: how to use innovative socio-technical solutions to tackle depression among working age people in Japan.
The Takeda executives, called “Superminds Fellows,” participated in a series of face-to-face and virtual meetings that were informed by ideas from the fields of collective intelligence and design thinking.
The Takeda group generated six business concepts to address the challenge, and a group of researchers convened by the CIDL and the Community Biotechnology Initiative (CBI) of MIT’s Media Lab subsequently commented and expanded on these concepts. The ideas generated by the Takeda executives and the MIT group were then synthesized by the CIDL team and reviewed by all participants.
The concept that emerged was CareNet, a web-enabled collected intelligence system that relies on a combination of human expertise and artificial intelligence to diagnose and recommend actions that can help people who are susceptible to or suffering from depression, as well as their caregivers and healthcare providers.
The collaboration yielded multi-faceted results. First, Takeda is developing the CareNet business concept by working with key stakeholders in the Japanese healthcare system. Second, the superminds concepts introduced to the Takeda executives who participated have begun to proliferate across the organization. For instance, even though only 38 executives participated directly in the Superminds Fellows program, a Takeda survey found that through the end of 2019, more than 200 people at the firm have become familiar with the supermind concepts at the center of the CIDL-CSLI collaboration. Finally, for CIDL, the collaboration led to the development of new elements of its superminds design methodology and also provided insights into how universities can undertake activities that combine some of the benefits of both traditional university research and management consulting.
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