The Chirr are a race of space-faring aliens that look vaguely like rat-sized ants. They've got powerful mandibles and small, fairly dexterous hand-like claws, though their chitinous nature makes delicate manipulation somewhat more difficult for them than it is for humans. They dwell in huge hives comprised of hundreds of millions of workers who are genetic clones that come from a few breeding queens.
Just as with ants, the queens do not lead the hives, only produce more workers. Individual Chirr aren't significantly smarter than rats, but over the past few tens of millions of years, they've been evolving to collectively produce better and better structures and tools, starting with huge cities and progressing into electronics, computers, and now finally space flight.
One thing that has baffled human scientists is exactly how they've managed to do so. We're used to thinking about doing things as individuals, making individual discoveries, and learning as individuals what the cutting edge in a given field is. The Chirr cannot do this. An individual is not intelligent enough to make discoveries like calculus or fluid dynamics. The Chirr are not telepathic, do not have a central brain creature, and do not in any other manner meld their minds together, except to the extent that vocal, olfactory, and tactile communication can transmit ideas between individuals.
They do have an endless willingness to work together to solve problems, almost no sense of ego driving them to do better than their fellow workers, and will die without hesitation for the good of their hive. Chirr do not have a strong sense of self, but have a very strong sense of belonging to their hive. In short, they have all the traits that have allowed eusocial insects like ants and bees to behave as a group far more intelligently than any individual can act, but are individually far smarter than any ant, though significantly less intelligent than a human.
How have they harnessed their abilities to grow into a technologically advanced race?
Note: I'm also wondering if this is even possible. I'd like to use the Chirr as an alien race in a game I'm working on, but only if they make sense. If they don't, and if technology capable of spaceflight is outside of the realm of such creatures, I'd like to know why you think that's the case!