For those of you who missed my article on “4 Great Ways to Make Breakthroughs,” you can now read it online.
Here’s the beginning…
Steve Jobs, Apple’s maverick co-founder, once said, “Creativity is just connecting things…. Creative people… connect experiences and synthesize new things…. They were able to do that [because] they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people.”
This presents us with an interesting dilemma. We are taught that we should become experts and avoid being jacks-of-all-trades, masters of none. And to become experts, we purposefully eliminate dots and focus on one specific area. Those disappearing dots give rise to my belief that “expertise is the enemy of creativity.”
Odds are that you are an expert. You undoubtedly know your business better than anyone, especially if you have been running it for years.
Unfortunately, that knowledge may hinder your ability to view your business with fresh eyes. Although you have depth, which is useful for slight improvements, you must have breadth to develop breakthroughs. Research bears this out: After analyzing 17,000 patents, Lee Fleming, a business administration professor at Harvard Business School, discovered that teams of people with similar backgrounds yielded few breakthroughs, while cross-disciplinary teams produced more radical solutions.
But rest assured that you, the expert, can still make breakthroughs, and here are four great ways to generate them…