Knowledge hybrids key to business growth

Knowledge-bridging - taking expertise from one field, applying it to a completely different one and so creating an unprecedented product or service - can help companies bring products to market faster and raise money more quickly, according to this study of biotech start-ups.

by Knowledge@Wharton
Last Updated: 23 Jul 2013

Giving researchers the freedom to follow their curiosity is key to spurring this technique; other ways that can help include setting up information clearing houses where researchers can share ideas and solicit advice on projects, hosting outside speakers on technology topics, and more gimmicky techniques such as putting whiteboards in workplace corridors so employees can scrawl ideas whenever inspiration strikes.

The danger is that encouraging knowledge-bridging can mean too much freedom and too little structure, and companies should be prepared for ideas that just don't work.

In this sample, the knowledge-bridger start-ups delivered better performance - they were more likely to have drugs approved by the FDA and raise money in an IPO.

In biotech start-ups, knowledge-bridging can be the key to creativity,
Knowledge@Wharton, 12 July 2006

Review by Steve Lodge

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