Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Leaders, Explore outside your domain!

At the very start of my doctoral program, faculty members assigned us to read Thomas Kuhn's great book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. I learned that many great scientific discoveries emerged when people from one field tackled a question in a different domain. Why? I think three key reasons exist. First, people in a particular field become entrenched in a certain way of thinking, and that can inhibit innovation. Second, new ideas can emerge when we draw analogies carefully from one domain to another. Third, many social and scientific problems require a fundamentally interdisciplinary problem-solving approach. You simply can't address the issue from one silo.

What's the lesson for leaders? We have to read, scan, and explore ideas from outside our industry and outside the field of business. We have to make the time for this and encourage our peers and subordinates to do the same.


tkp said...

That's a good point. We tend to get tunnel vision if we don't expose ourselves to other things.

Andrew Boysen said...

I just ordered the book - less than $3 on Kindle!

Ian P. McCarthy said...

Hi Michael,

Do you know of any journal papers that examine how managers scan and explore ideas from outside their industry domains?