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13 April 2023 | Posted by angela.tuduri

Swarm intelligence: the power inspired by nature

How can collective intelligence help solve complex problems in project management?

Swarm intelligence is a revolutionary concept inspired and nurtured by the collective behavior that certain groups of animals - such as bees, ants or birds - imitate. 

By leveraging collective knowledge, this collective intelligence is able to solve complex problems quickly and much more efficiently than we would be alone. 

In project management, collective intelligence is very useful when we collaborate between teams, and it also helps us to drive innovation and adaptability of projects in the environment. 

Discover in this post the benefits of collective intelligence and its application in project management to boost and adapt the objectives of our environment! 

What is Swarm Intelligence? - Definition, history and current artificial intelligence 

Inspired by the natural behavior of many animal colonies, swarm intelligence - or collective intelligence - uses the ability of these natural systems to self-organize and feedback, adapting to the environment and changing conditions through learning and communication. 

Its concept was first developed in 1989 by Gerardo Beni and Wang Jing. In the first draft, swarm intelligence mimics the collective behavior of animals to solve complex problems without a predefined plan. 

Flocks of birds, schools of fish or even ant colonies are able to organize themselves out of disorder and learn from natural transformation. 

Collective intelligence gets rid of hierarchies and promotes collaboration among teams or groups of people with the objective of solving complex problems in a shorter time, sharing perspectives and techniques among individual agents. 

In short, rather than following a centralized, hierarchical approach, swarm intelligence relies on collaboration and coordination among many individual agents to solve complex problems. 

Projects already using artificial intelligence to improve collective intelligence 

The advent of new technologies has uncovered new fields and ways of interacting when developing projects.  

Knowing the potential of collective intelligence, there are already AI techniques that are able to process information based on the interaction between individuals, and thus improve decision making.  

The use of artificial intelligence in this sense has made it possible to solve problems effectively when individually it would not be possible. Swarm intelligence is applied in different fields such as project management, robotics or data analysis so that:  

  • Ant colonies - their nature allows them to deposit pheromones that guide other ants to their destination. By understanding this behavior, the AI is able to detect the best solutions to a similar problem.  

  • Bee swarming - imitating the behavior of bees to collect honey, this algorithm allows to simulate the process of communication and cooperation, hoping to find the best solution.  

Collective intelligence is an effective and safe way to manage projects in uncoordinated environments or with many factors involved. Mimicking the natural behavior of animals, this intelligence is capable of improving the performance and results of any project.  

Benefits of using swarm intelligence in project management 

There are many benefits and advantages offered by the application of collective intelligence in project management. Among them, decision making, resource optimization and risk reduction play a very important role. 

Swarm intelligence has gained popularity in recent years with the advance of new technologies that improve communication and collaboration between people. Among all the advantages, the main ones are:  

  • Innovation: By fostering collaboration and creativity, swarm intelligence can help drive innovation and the development of unique and effective solutions to complex problems. 

  • Adaptability/ flexibility/ coordination: Swarm intelligence is inherently adaptable and can quickly adjust to changes in the project environment, which can be especially useful in complex and dynamic projects. 

  • Decision Making: By involving multiple team members in the decision-making process, different perspectives and skills can be leveraged to make more informed and accurate decisions. 

  • Resource optimization: Swarm intelligence can help optimize the allocation of resources, such as personnel and materials, to maximize efficiency and minimize costs. 

  • Risk management: By involving multiple team members in risk identification and mitigation, potential problems can be identified more quickly, and preventive measures can be taken before they become serious problems. 

  • Diversity: the group is made up of people with different knowledge, skills, experiences and perspectives, which enriches the process of finding solutions. 

  • Interaction: the group communicates fluently and respectfully, exchanging ideas, opinions, information and feedback. 

The future of collective intelligence  

Technological advances are making it possible to improve communication, exchange and processing of information between members of teams or communities. The trends that appear in this aspect are, among others, the development of digital platforms, the use of artificial intelligence for data analysis or the integration of devices that expand the capabilities between people.  

In short, collective intelligence is a new intelligent way of harnessing human resources to solve complex problems in companies, organizations or even in society.  

New technologies allow discovering new fields that, together with nature, squeeze human capabilities to optimize and improve available resources. Do you want to boost your future in project management, with techniques such as swarm intelligence? Discover La Salle-URL programs such as the Master in Project Management, and develop your professional future in a technological university pioneer in project management. 


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