The smartness of the team is smarter than the smartest in the team.
In their book Innovation Tournaments, Christian Terwiesch and Karl T. Ulrich identify four levers (and contend that there are only four) to more winning ideas:
– Coming up with more ideas (good or bad)
– Improving the accuracy of the selection process
– Enhancing the average quality of ideas
– Broadening the distribution of idea quality.
The X-Factor (alongside other talent-hunt TV shows) provides a good illustration of these four levers. Read more…
At the Beijing Olympics, the 4 x 100m relay was won by the Russian team in 42 seconds – apologies for not being much interested in the tenths and hundredths – while the 400m was won by Christine Ohuruogu in a time of 49 seconds. At the risk of stating the obvious, the same distance is covered a lot faster by a relay team than by a single individual, however talented. Read more…
The magazine Nature features an unusual lead article about the parallels between the recent financial near catastrophic failure and the spread of diseases in natural eco-systems. This is no joke or provocation: not only is Nature a serious scientific publication but the article is written by Andrew Haldane, executive director of financial stability at the Bank of England, and Robert May, a theoretical ecologist at Oxford University and former chief scientist of the UK government. Both the method and the conclusions offer at least two insightful lessons for the innovation practitioner. Read more…