How does interdisciplinary teamwork work in practice? What are the optimum conditions for its development? This report investigates.
- Interdisciplinary research leads to innovations that hadn’t initially been anticipated. Entrepreneurial alertness to unexpected opportunities is therefore required.
- It is possible to identify ways of working to ensure interdisciplinary innovation works most effectively: for example, innovation requires risk-taking, trust, and time.
- Interdisciplinary innovators face three main barriers or obstacles: these are based around career problems, intellectual property, and working in silos.
- Recommendations for supporting interdisciplinary innovation include: support innovative leaders; measure impacts more openly, and provide the right resources.
- The effective use of professional or academic teams from different disciplines can help develop new solutions to complex problems or research questions.
UK policymakers are keen on both interdisciplinary teamwork and innovation, yet there is a lack of clarity about how interdisciplinary innovation works in practice or about the optimum conditions for its development.
This report seeks to fill that gap. The report draws on interviews with over 500 people who have been involved in interdisciplinary teams, many of them among the most innovative leaders in their field.
Alan Blackwell, Lee Wilson, Charles Boulton and John Knell