The latest paper by CREI member Ammon Salter and colleagues gives fresh insight into how organisations can drive innovation.
While most organisations would claim to value collaboration and encourage friendly working relations between their staff, it can sometimes seem difficult to work effectively across teams and disciplines. This research has identified a type of relationship that proves particularly effective in producing successful creative ideas.
Ammon and his colleagues spent several years researching networking at a leading international science and technology company. Like most large technology corporations, the company operates two hierarchies: one for technical specialists and one for managers.
Each group has different knowledge and expertise and so need each other to make an idea for a product a success. The managers understand the commercial side of the business, while the technologists focus on the detail – how to make the product work.
A system of connections
While it’s common for a technologist and a manager to partner to develop an idea, this new study found that the most effective relationships draw on the broader networks of both partners. The technologist and manager are both connected to a variety of colleagues at different levels of the organisation, who can provide different insights and challenges. Ammon and colleagues call this dual networking.
The combination of this wide net of commercial understanding and technical insight helps develop and refine an idea. This increases the likelihood of success.