Developing a structure that encourages cross pollination of ideas is difficult at best. We are barely able to keep up with all the advances within a discipline, let alone take time to see what is happening in other fields. But as you may know from my love of ideas from strange places, I’m a big believer in breaking those silos down to drive innovative thought.
In that vein I came across this Ted Talk from June by Robert Full called Learning from the gecko’s tail.
His presentation demonstrates the powerful possibilities of cross discipline approaches to innovation. A few quotes really stood out:
“[Biomutualism is] An association between biology and another discipline where each discipline reciprocally advances the other to where the collective advances that emerge are beyond any single field.”
“We need to build biomutualisms like I showed that will increase the pace of basic discovery, in their application. But to do this we need to redesign education in a major way, to balance depth with interdisciplinary communication. And explicitly train people how to contribute to, and benefit from other disciplines. And of course you need the organisms and environment to do it.”
Within business the effect of silos and departmentalization can cause you to be cut off not only from others in your industry, but others in your discipline as well. Sharing ideas across industry and discipline can be powerful medicine.
The video is well worth a look.