Harvard Professor Finds That Innovative Ideas Spread Like The Flu; Here's How To Catch Them
"What we found was striking," Miller says. More than an individual work, the quality of relationships that a team had was a crucial--especially having someone on the team highly connected to the rest of the network. The most successful teams were the most interwoven, because as Miller says, "If you're doing great work back in a closet somewhere, it doesn't matter."
In this case, too, information--here the process of innovation--acts as contagion. Successful teams were able to spread their ideas through the organization, gathering commentary, criticism, and broader support. Movement of information from person to person and across departments advanced the innovation, Miller says, which couldn't have happened if it stayed on an island. "High-performing people tend to have strong connections, both laterally across departments as well as up and down the hierarchical chain."