Posted by Renee Schmidt


Teams are smarter when they contain more women; that’s what The Harvard Business Review published in new research by Anita Woolley and Thomas Malone.

Individuals ranging from age 18-60 were given IQ tests and assigned randomly into teams. The teams were asked to solve a complex problem, requiring decision making, brainstorming, puzzles and the like.  They were then evaluated with a collective IQ.  The findings reflect that it wasn’t the teams with the highest collective IQs that performed best; it was the teams that had the most women.

In other words: when a group includes more women, its collective intelligence increases.

These results are not so surprising, considering a statistic I first heard from Vivek Wadhwa on a CNBC segment: venture backed companies run by women have 12% higher annual revenues than those run by men, while using on average one-third less committed capital, according to a study by British researcher, Library House.

Malone stated: “we were surprised but intrigued to find that group intelligence had relatively little to do with individual intelligence.”

Woolley added: “What do you hear about great groups? Not that members are all really smart but that they listen to each other. They share criticism constructively. They have open minds. They’re not autocratic.  In our study, we saw pretty clearly that groups that had smart people dominating the conversation were not very intelligent groups.”

Malone & Woolley defended their research in a Harvard Business Review podcast, which can be found here.  Enjoy!

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