Crossing the streams: 4 intersections that drive innovation

For those of you who aren’t fans of the movie Ghost Busters, the title of the blog, “crossing the streams” is a tip-of–the-hat to their ghost busting technology and their need to use it unconventionally in order to emerge triumphant.


Keeping with the science-fiction theme, father of the term cyberspace, William Gibson’s quote “The future has already arrived.  It’s just not evenly distributed” reflects the same idea and rings true of my own experience.


Over my career I’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity to work in multiple disciplines, geographies and industries.  I’ve often found that inspiration for, or sometimes even the solution to, a problem was a result of the cross-pollination of ideas and processes that mastered in one domain, have proven to be innovative in another.


My good friend and author, Gene Kim, refers to practioners of this philosphy as ‘boundary spanners.’  True masters of the art might be more properly called ‘polymaths’ or even ‘renaissance thinkers.’ Whatever the name for it, the principal is about applied curiosity across domains with the aim of creating innovative ideas.


I guess the question then, is why aren’t we all “crossing the streams?” I think part of the answer to that question lies with information overload. Most people, including myself, often feel overwhelmed with the sheer amount of information available to them just in their chosen field, let alone others. I believe the other reason is that it’s difficult to sort the wheat from the chaff, the magical from the mundane.


Which brings me to why I decided to create this blog, which is to help connect the dots across what I believe to be the most interesting developments and thinkers in the four key areas that I believe are driving innovation and differentiation for companies, specifically;

-       the tools and techniques for extracting nuggets of gold from the mountains of available data

-       the speed and flexibility of scalable, service oriented delivery models

-       the importance of design thinking, and finally

-       organisational change management


So whether it’s finding how manufacturing principals can be applied to IT service design, learning how lessons from industrial design can help you build a more satisfying user experience or what doctors can teach us about skills transfer, let’s share experiences, generate ideas and connect networks in order to challenge your thinking and hopefully for you to challenge mine!


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About the Author
Paul Muller leads the global IT management evangelist team within the Software business at HP. In this role, Muller heads the team responsib...

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