Автор приводит восемь рекомендаций из книги Франса Йоханссона «Эффект Медичи: прорывное озарение на пересечении идей, концепции и культур»: уделите время разным проектам в различных отраслях; взаимодействуйте с разными группами людей; предпримите «вдумчивую прогулку»; держите баланс между глубиной и шириной; активно генерируйте много идей; уделяйте время оценке; пробуйте идеи, которые проваливаются, чтобы найти те, которые не провалятся; резервируйте ресурсы на попытки и ошибки.
May 09, 2011
by: Loren Gary
Multidisciplinary approaches to problem solving are all the rage today, and for good reason. The increasingly complex nature of private and public sector challenges requires us to bring more than a single area of expertise to bear on them in order to make any significant headway.
"The Medici Effect: Breakthrough Insights at the Intersection of Ideas, Concepts & Cultures," a 2004 book by Frans Johansson, puts multidisciplinarity front and center in its program for increasing innovation. “When you step into an intersection of fields, disciplines, or cultures,” Johansson writes, “you can combine existing concepts into a large number of extraordinary new ideas.
Taking its title from the knack the Medici banking family had for igniting creativity in Renaissance Italy by borrowing ideas or methods used in one field or domain and applying them to another, Johansson’s book draws liberally from the best research on innovation. If you want become a more productive generator of breakthrough ideas, here are eight recommendations that can help you get started.
1. Make a point to spend time on a variety of projects in different fields. For all its benefits, every profession, discipline, and organization has its blind spots—unconscious assumptions that inhibit creativity. “If your goal is to keep execution at a premium and to innovate in small, directional steps, specialization is the right path,” writes Johansson. “However, if you wish to develop fresh, groundbreaking ideas, highly varied experiences are critical.” When Luis Alvarez, a Nobel laureate in astronomy and nuclear physics, took an interest in paleontology, he drew upon methodologies and frameworks from his original area of expertise to solve the mystery of the sudden disappearance of dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Alvarez’s proposal, that a ten-kilometer-wide meteor had struck earth during the Cretaceous period, is now the leading theory in the field.
2. Interact with diverse groups of people. Different frameworks, views, and approaches are more likely to emerge from teams that are diverse not only in terms of disciplines and expertise but also in terms of culture, ethnicity, age, geography, and gender. Such teams are more likely to produce breakthrough ideas.
3. Take a “thought walk.” This is an example of what Johansson calls intersection hunting—“purposeful efforts to find unusual concept combinations.” When you’re working on a specific problem, take a walk down the street, randomly picking up, buying, or taking note of items you notice—don’t select things you think are related to the problem at hand. When you get back from your walk, write down the characteristics of each item you picked up, and then “try to force a connection between these characteristics and the problem you are working on,” Johansson advises. “Some of the ideas generated might give you a unique insight that could solve the problem.”
4. Strike a balance between depth and breadth. “Too much expertise,” Johansson cautions, “can fortify the associative barriers between fields. At the same time, expertise is clearly needed in order to develop new ideas to begin with.” At the collective level, the best way to solve this dilemma is through diverse teams. At the individual level, it’s probably best to develop deep knowledge in one specific area before branching out into other fields.
5. Actively generate many ideas. Studies of creativity in science, for example, have shown that “the best predictor for when scientists produce their best works, their most exceptional contributions, is actually when they produce the most,” Johansson observes. As Nobel laureate Linus Pauling put it, “The best way to get a good idea is to have a lot of ideas.”
6. Allow time for evaluation. Contrary to popular belief, research by Harvard Business School professor Teresa Amabile revealed that in most circumstances people are less creative under serious time pressure. It’s important to avoid the rush to judge new ideas, Johansson argues; “intersectional ideas must be evaluated from a different perspective, one that does not come instinctively.” Carefully sort through the new ideas you’ve generated from your intersection hunting. “Perhaps the best insurance against prejudging your ideas,” Johansson continues, “is to write them down or diagram them when they occur to you.”
7. Try ideas that fail in order to find those that won’t. Be suspicious of low failure rates in your organization—they could be a sign that you’re not taking enough risks. Strive to create “an environment where success and failure are rewarded equally—and where inaction is punished,” advises Johansson.
8. Reserve resources for trial and error. “Research has shown,” writes Clayton Christensen in The Innovator’s Dilemma, “that the vast majority of successful new business ventures abandoned their original business strategies when they began implementing their initial plans and learned what would and would not work in the market. The dominant difference between successful ventures and failed ones, generally, is not the astuteness of their original strategy.”
When you’re innovating at the intersection of fields and disciplines, it’s important to husband your resources so that you don’t run out of money and time before you’ve had a chance to allow the execution of your plan teach you how the original idea needs to be altered. What’s more, you need to work closely with your partners, customers, and investors so that they, too, understand that your plans may change.
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