Develop your connectional intelligence

Certain people seem to have a natural talent for connecting information, people, and ideas to come up with breakthrough ideas. And yet, according to Erica Dhawan and Saj-nicole Joni, this aptitude doesn’t have to be limited to a special elite. Thanks to digital technologies, we can all develop this talent, or what the authors term “connective intelligence.” Excerpt from the latest issue of Business Digest:

Bussiness Discussion

1. What is connectional intelligence? It is the ability to combine the world’s diversity of people, networks, disciplines, and resources, forging connections that create value, meaning, and breakthrough results. Digital technologies are catalyzing the role this form of intelligence plays in the world of business. It is what enables you to realize the big opportunities that digital makes possible, whether in terms of problem solving, disruptive innovation, or process optimization.

2. Why is connection critical? The myth of the lone genius is outdated, because it obscures the important role that connection plays in innovation. We are all more effective when we multiple our own knowledge, drive, and insight “by the power of others.” And the more diverse the skills, talents, and personalities that you connect, the higher your connectional intelligence can rise.

3. What makes others want to connect with you? Designing problems that other people want to solve is essential and requires your authenticity to rally people around your vision and build high-value connections.

How Deloitte’s culture fosters connectional intelligence
Leaders at Deloitte have reached the strong conclusion that this powerful aptitude is rooted in emotional maturity and personal authenticity. Hence Christie Smith’s work to design programs that encourage the development of these characteristics throughout the company’s ranks.


Based on Get Big Things Done: The Power of Connectional Intelligence, by Erica Dhawan and Saj-nicole Joni (Palgrave Macmillan, February 2015) and the interview with Christie Smith, Managing Director, West Region, Deloitte Consulting LLP, February 2015.

Watch the video:

The Power of Connectional Intelligence

Erica Dhawan discusses her new book The Power of Connectional Intelligence.