The expansion of interdisciplinarity in innovation

Today more than ever, build effective contacts with the other company’s employees and a diversity of people outside it is essential to grasp the business opportunities and turn them into sustainable innovation.

To be persuasive, be able to influence for the collaboration, without using the power or money is necessary to develop skills of communication and relationship with other people with knowledge in other domains than our own.

We will have an effective work only if we can with support and willingness to collaborate with other people inside and outside the company.

A few years ago many of us thought that the future of our work will be a large specialization and preferably almost exclusively and in fact were so for some time. Good salaries, bonuses, promotions and most important jobs were absorbed by people shaped “I” (specialists). Now T-shaped people tend to absorb these places and if we are not yet there is time to get to tread the path to get there.

But not only are employers who value interpersonal and communication skills, together with the technical and strategic thinking and project management when it tackles the issue of innovation.

Henry Chesbrough says: “In a world of open innovation, specialists are available for collaboration through a variety of mechanisms, such that they need not be part of your payroll in order to help you innovate…

In a world of open innovation, where there are a wealth of useful ideas and smart people, the ability to integrate these available parts into effective solutions that deliver value is tremendously important…

Develop a culture that seeks out and rewards those managers with integration skills, to make the most out of both internal and external ideas.  This is the key talent to fight for in a world of open innovation.”

Open innovation is an interdisciplinary process that requires experts of various disciplines to work together throughout a project.

There are some good examples, see Elsevier, for reflection on how this approach must be made and how interdisciplinary teams have shown effective. At the bottom is an approach to diversity that requires some attention.

An open innovation project needs a leadership capable of driving a holistic vision in creating value for the consumer and at the same time be aligned with the competencies and strategies of the organizations involved.

This means that, for example engineers or other specialists in specific areas should have a basic knowledge of adjacent fields or to be good partners and collaboration partners, both inside and outside the organization.

“The value of multi-disciplinary thinking is one that many have touched upon in recent years. That includes the T-shaped thinkers championed by Bill Moggridge at IDEO, and the I-with-a-serif-shaped thinker introduced by Microsoft Research’s Bill Buxton, right through to the collaboration across departments, functions and disciplines that constitutes genuine cross disciplinary activity. This, I believe, is the way that innovation will emerge in our fiendishly complex times.” Helen Walters

Think about T-shaped people to interdisciplinary innovation is a perspective appealing to employees of companies as well as an obligation for innovative organizations.

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One Response to Special sauce in innovation – Being T-shaped and have the right networks

  1. Jose, my PhD research focused on collaboration to develop curriculum that is highly interdisciplinary, since it draws from all our multiple intelligences to explore and express ideas. Added to that it occurs socially and not in isolation.

    The academy tried to compartmentalize knowledge and learning that is often ambiguous and messy into neat disciplines, but it is not always how the human brain works well. Added to that was a lot of rote memorization and giving back of facts with no problem solving ability. Thankfully small changes are taking place. My thought is change should occur faster…

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