There’s this idea of collaborative intelligence saying that working closely and putting our minds together makes it easier to achieve goals and objectives. So it’s something we want more of.

You’d think removing the walls and reducing the physical distance between people would raise their level of interaction, leading to an increase in collaborative intelligence and productivity.

Well…nope. Actually, the opposite happens. According to a recent study. the volume of face-to-face interactions drops with about 70% and most of our interactions shift to email and IM.

Removing physical barriers between two, three, or four people works. But it doesn’t scale. It doesn’t work when ten, fifteen, or more people are involved.

Looking at my day-to-day office interactions, most of them are about asking or giving help. Asking for help makes us feel vulnerable. It’s hard enough to do it in front of one person – let alone with fifteen other people, watching and hearing every stupid thing you say.

The study can be found here.