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How do multidisciplinary groups build innovative ideas across boundaries?

Have you ever wondered why cross-disciplinary work is so difficult? We all know that harvesting the knowledge of many different people can help us to develop more innovative ideas. The typical traditional "silo-thinking" can inhibit finding new solutions in which we utilize braoder knowledge from differente people. Still, it is easier said than done.

SO; how can cross-disciplinary group work succeed??

In study two, main findings indicated that when group members from different disciplines constructed a common knowledge platform during the development of innovative ideas they required the ability to recognize and build on each other's competences. This process is aided by openness, curiosity, and respect for each other’s views, the implication being that it is insufficient to just assemble people with special expertise from different disciplines. They need additional relational skills in order to collaborate and accomplish knowledge building.

Read more:

Ness, I. J., & Søreide, G. E. (2014). The Room of Opportunity: Understanding phases of creative knowledge processes in innovation. Journal of Workplace Learning, 26(8), 545-560. doi:

Ness, I. J., & Riese, H. (2015). Openness, curiosity and respect: Underlying conditions for developing innovative knowledge and ideas between disciplines. Learning, Culture and Social Interaction, 6(September 2015), 29-39. doi:

Ness, I. J. (2017). Polyphonic Orchestration: Understanding how leaders facilitate creative knowledge processes in multidisciplinary groups working with innovation. European Journal of Innovation Management.


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