- Research has shown that problem-solving is greatly increased through collaboration.
- Collaborating helped humans rise to the top of the animal kingdom.
- Blockchain represents new means for collaborating globally through new social coordination technologies.
There are numerous means for solving the problems we encounter on a daily basis. One of the most valuable is collaboration—with friends, family members, random people, and co-workers. Collaborating opens a dialogue that allows everyone to be informed with recent news, updates, and progress reports; it also encourages others to create a dialogue if they spot an opportunity or potential problem. In a 2006 study published in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, which included 760 students at the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign, lead author, Patrick Laughlin, Ph.D., writes:
We found that groups of size three, four, and five outperformed the best individuals and attribute this performance to the ability of people to work together to generate and adopt correct responses, reject erroneous responses, and effectively process information.
Collaboration is at the heart of our biological success. Minor evolutionary changes led to major advancements in social coordination: bipedalism allowed our ancestors to communicate across long distances when tracking prey, avoiding predators, and seeking shelter; opposable thumbs opened up the possibility of crafting innovative tools; cooking with fire changed the nutrient density of foods, causing us to spend less time chewing and open more time for other endeavors, as well as increasing our cognitive abilities. These cultural shifts helped lead to the creation of city-states, in which small tribes formed larger conglomerates of people that were forced to collaborate in entirely new ways.
Collaboration has also been shown to lead to clearer mental states. While the concept of Flow, the term coined by Hungarian psychology professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in the eighties, has been explored more recently in bestselling books such as The Rise of Superman, group flow is a concept that has been documented among musicians. When a band performs on stage, their brain waves sync, leading to a euphoric feeling marked by reduced activity in the prefrontal cortex. The main reason flow states “work” is due to this lessened activity in the regions of the brain responsible for fear, doubt, and ego. Collaboration makes this possible. We let go of personal identity for a greater good.
RChain encourages collaboration through its decentralized cooperative, where members solve complex issues and create new learning experiences for the community. RChain’s CoLab allows developers from around the world to work on projects together, while Rholang will create opportunities for new discoveries and resources in blockchain. Humans have evolved over hundreds of thousands of years through coordinating with one another. Blockchain is the next step in this long evolution.