One of the best examples to explain the concept of swarm intelligence is of the ants and the bees that are least intelligent but still they work together efficiently without any supervision. They are not just able to find ways to solve their problems but they can also easily adapt to changes that occur in the environments. In the world today, the businesses have started applying the concept of swarm intelligence as it helps the companies develop efficient ways to divide work between the employees, categorize the people and also to design strategies.
Following the example of the ants that choose the easiest way to look for food, the companies such as Hewlett-Packard and Southwest Airlines have also used swarm intelligence to find the most efficient ways to accomplish their goals. Work also has to be allocated to the labor according to what a particular individual specializes in and this also helps the employees to get used to the changing conditions. Researchers have started observing the behaviors of the social insects and they seem to be captivated with it.
It is basically artificial intelligence and is based on the interaction and the way the insects cooperate with other insects to complete their task in an organized way. Some of the characteristics of swarm intelligence can be positive and negative feedback and can also result in randomness. Positive feedback suggests the best solution and it increases the occurrence of the same event to take place again and in this way the other customers are also persuaded to buy the same product.
The negative feedback however reduces the possibilities of opting for bad solutions and there are lesser chances of the occurrence of that event in future while randomness on the other hand helps to discover new solutions. There are many advantages that are linked with swarm intelligence in the business context and one of the most important advantages is flexibility as it enables the group of people to adjust in different types of environments.
Secondly, it also helps the people finish their tasks in a robust manner as swarm intelligence helps them overcome any losses or failures faced by the group. Another advantage is self-organization i. e. people can work well without any kind of supervision or any kind of direction. It basically studies the combine behavior of individuals and the way they interact to achieve a target in a particular environment.
The rules of swarm intelligence are simple and so they can be easily coded and interpreted, for instance in the business context it is easier to quantify the number of people working on an assignment than to make out how much work is being done by whom and as the people work in groups, it basically shows how productive they are while interacting with other people. Individuals show different types of attitudes and behaviors at work as each individual has their own way of thinking and their own perceptions; they eventually end up trying to do things in their own way making their behavior unpredictable for the others.
The first two examples that are discussed is the paper above are mostly used by the business executives, however the third one i. e. self-organization is the most interesting one as although it is the result of collective interactions, the individuals follow simple rules but group behavior can make it complex as well as more effective. (Bonabeau & Meyer, 2001, pp. 107-114).
Bonabeau, E. & Meyer, C. (2001). Swarm Intelligence: A Whole New Way to Think About Business. Harvard Business Review, pp. 107-114.