Kevin McDermott launched Collective Intelligence in 1996. His first major client, an international strategy consultancy, asked him to draft the design of the firm's inaugural intranet. Central to that work was McDermott's invention of an innovative methodology that captured the insights of the firm's consultants soon after completion of engagements—short, narrative "after action" reports that defined the lessons of experience while they were still fresh. And always with application in mind.

The success of this invention brought an invitation to address the first forum on "Groupware & Electronic Communities" at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Since then CI's client list has grown to include financial-services firms, the White House National Security Council, a leading international recruiter, and one of the world's largest international aid organizations.

"Unleashing organizational genius and putting it to work" has been the maxim of CI since its inception. In 2006, for example, McDermott was a major contributor to Project Horizon, a groundbreaking strategic-planning exercise sponsored by global affairs agencies of the U.S. government and facilitated by the Futures Strategy Group (a frequent collaborator with Collective Intelligence) and Booz Allen Hamilton.

Before launching Collective Intelligence McDermott worked as a journalist, reporting from among other places France for The Washington Post and Saveur, from England for The New York Times, and from Haiti for The Atlantic Monthly. For nine years he was managing editor of D&B Reports, the award-winning business magazine of Dun & Bradstreet, overseeing its coverage of international trade. Earlier he contributed articles on international finance to Business International and Business Latin America, both now part of the Economist Intelligence Unit.

McDermott earned a masters in American Studies from the University of Nottingham in Great Britain. He also holds a double degree in Political Science and English from the University of Rochester in the United States.

McDermott has served four elected terms on the board of the Overseas Press Club of America, and co-chairs its international press-freedom committee. He is also a member of Frontline Club, the organization of international journalists in London.