Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Creating I. Teams

Does it make sense to have people from multiple backgrounds in your I. team or are cross-disciplinary teams not such a good idea as people think?

In a remarkable article highly worth reading if you have to deal with this subject, Lee Fleming in the September 2004 issue of the HBR says the anwer depends.

If you want to achieve a huge breaktrough I. with ditto payoff and you are prepared to take a big chance that nothing at all will come out you should choose for a group of people from very diverse disciplines. These kind of groups turn out to, though extremely rarely, achieve innovations with unusual high value.
But on the other hand, a group of people from very similar disciplines is much more likely to come up with something useful and delivers a more valuable result on average.

Mr Fleming, associate professor at Harvard, bases his findings on research he carried out on more than 17.000 patents. If other investigators confirm Flemings findings, this is a major contribution to a better understanding of I.