"...while ants become smarter as the number of collaborators increases, humans become dumber." -Kathy Sierra, Creating Passionate Users
To be completely accurate, she's talking about the book "The Wisdom of Crowds" and about how using too many cooks can really dilute the spices in the pot (a poor metaphor; blame me, not her).
It put me in mind of several theatrical experiences I've had. Working in dramatic theatre, there is a very clear chain of command; everything flows from the director. A good director has a great design team and fantastic actors and listens to their input and channels the things they bring to the table--but the final decision, the ultimate vision, is the fault or triumph of the director. With great power comes great responsibility, etc. etc.
I love that model. I love working in it, whether I'm directing or part of the design team (usually the latter). It is like being given a tremendously powerful brush with which to paint an enormous canvas (the theatre, in fact). Perhaps my favorite aspect of the digital media revolution (I'm talking about 1.0, when video stopped being linear and sound became sampled and projectors got cheap) is that it assembled more of the power into individual hands, gave a new palette (see, this metaphor is working much better, no?) to the individual artist.
I've also worked with companies like Cycropia, a collective-style aerial dance group. I respect them immensely; I love going to their performances. However, their style of creation--getting together as a group, compromising and changing and giving and taking aspects as they build a performance--drives me nuts. I'm a much bigger fan of "We'll do it your way, completely," than "We'll do it your way, but I'm going to change your vision."
In my own personal aesthetic, that takes away from a vision that could otherwise be powerful and direct. It reminds me of the scene in Amadeus where the Court informs Mozart that his song has "too many notes."
It's a personal taste. But give me a dictatorship in the arts every time.
Especially when I get to be the dictator...