How can small groups of exceptional people solve significant problems, create new technology, and make important decisions?
I have been reading a series of blog posts on unrecognised simplicities of effective action. The first post in the series has this striking comment about what we need:
There is a terrible mismatch between the sort of people that routinely dominate mission critical political institutions and the sort of people we need: high-ish IQ, a robust toolkit for not fooling yourself including quantitative problem-solving, determination, management skills, relevant experience, and ethics. While our ancestor chiefs at least had some intuitive feel for important variables like agriculture and cavalry our contemporary chiefs (and those in the media responsible for scrutiny of decisions) generally do not understand their equivalents, and are often less experienced in managing complex organisations than their predecessors.
I wish I knew of more good writing on the question "How do you assemble, organise, and manage a high-performance team?" Next on my reading list is An Elegant Puzzle: Systems of Engineering Management.