Sunday, February 15, 2004

A colleague of mine, Edward Jones, mailed me with an answer to my post on Innovation & The Strong Tie Dilemma:

"You might like to take a look at: How Breakthroughs Happen: Technology Brokering and the Pursuit of Innovation

The central point of the book, backup by case studies of 'ideas factories' such as Eddison's Menlo park is that this is how innovation can effectively take place - recombination of ideas from different small worlds by individuals who are plugged into different groups, bringing in ideas an opportunities but without being so embedded within a world that they are 'locked' into a way of thinking, calling the concept 'technology brokering'.

One specific example discussed is how a 'pump' training shoe was developed by combining previous work in shoes, medical fluid bags and small valves, with the design agency IDEO

The book goes on to comment that a common patten is that as these ideas factories get some good solutions, they become more closed, with a major challenge being to always retain both the sense of exploration and the partial connectedness in a way that is meaningful for all sides".

Superbly put Ed - thanks!

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