Proven components are ideal for innovation

Diagram showing that fracking used proven components.[1]

knowledge broker… firms innovate by combining existing technologies in new ways that result in dramatic synergy.

Explore new territories

Gain access to a wide range of industries or knowledge domains by working on a wide range of different problems and their existing solutions. The more diverse the experiences of everyone in your organization, the more diverse the set of past solutions to draw upon when facing a new problem.

“Working with companies in such dissimilar industries as medical instruments, furniture, toys, and computers has given us a broad view of the latest technologies available and has taught us how to do quality product development and how to do it quickly and efficiently.”

Learn something about everything

Learn as much as you can as fast as you can about the current state of the art surrounding any new project. The deeper and more flexible the knowledge you learn, the more easily you can use these past experiences to interpret new problems and recognize the value of past solutions.

“The best way to come up with ideas was first of all to go out and look at what’s out there.”

…knowledge brokers… may not know as much about any one thing as would a more specialized firm, but they often know when and where to look to learn more.

Find hidden connections

Build pathways that link project teams to the relevant knowledge of others in the firm. Invest in communication tools that provide for intensive interaction and analogic thinking. The more you communicate and interact around current problems, the more you will see these problems from a variety of perspectives and consider the range of possible solutions that this variety evokes.

Andersen’s Center for Strategic Technology demonstrates the firm’s latest thinking in business process solutions to its partners and clients. … not with brochures or technical specifications but, instead, with scenarios that combine a number of business and technical systems to paint a complex picture of what could be.

Make the idea work

Don’t stop with a good idea. Integrate innovative ideas with existing, well-developed, and well-accepted ideas from within the industry. Build prototypes, create simulations, and work with users to fit your innovative solutions into the established practices of these markets.

…implementation.. activities… generate a “wealth of knowledge that’s a result of the struggles, the agonizing they went through to try to figure out what’s the right way to proceed rather than the wrong way.”[2]

  1. “The Craic about “Fracking” – Technical Facts on Hydraulic Fracturing.”, 12 Aug. 2014, Accessed 20 Nov. 2016.
  2. Hargadon, Andrew B. “Firms as knowledge brokers: Lessons in pursuing continuous innovation.” California management review 40.3 (1998): 209-227.

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