Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Project Diversity = Productivity?

In today's New York Times is this intriguing interview:

In Professor's Model, Diversity = Productivity

Given the past year's frequent postings regarding project diversity (e.g Bjorn, Doug, Committer Reps, and many of the always-beautiful postings by Ed Merks), this research seems relevant.

I haven't had a chance to read the original research yet, but this caught my eye in the interview:

What the model showed was that diverse groups of problem solvers outperformed the groups of the best individuals at solving problems. The reason: the diverse groups got stuck less often than the smart individuals, who tended to think similarly.

The other thing we did was to show in mathematical terms how when making predictions, a group’s errors depend in equal parts on the ability of its members to predict and their diversity. This second theorem can be expressed as an equation: collective accuracy = average accuracy + diversity.