The wisdom of crowds comes not from the consensus decision of the group, but from the aggregation of the ideas/thoughts/decisions of each individual in the group.
At its simplest form, it means that if you take a bunch of people and ask them (as individuals) to answer a question, the average of each of those individual answers will likely be better than if the group works together to come up with a single answer. And he has a ton of real examples (but you'll just have to read the book for them ; )
Need to read James Surowiecki’s book The Wisdom of Crowds . Combine this with Open Spaces meeting technologies, Appreciative Inquiry, the notion of “thin-slicing” in psychology, and the technologic innovation of connectivity with the web and I think what you have is a brand new classroom, one that needs a new name and a new taxonomy. We could call it the folkschool.