Companies today increasingly rely on teams that span many industries for radical innovation, especially to solve "wicked problems." So leaders have to understand how to promote collaboration when roles are uncertain, goals are shifting, expertise and organizational cultures are varied, and participants have clashing or even antagonistic perspectives. HBS professor Amy Edmondson has studied more than a dozen cross-industry innovation projects, among them the creation of a new city, a mango supply-chain transformation, and the design and construction of leading-edge buildings. She has identified the leadership practices that make successful cross-industry teams work: fostering an adaptable vision, promoting psychological safety, enabling knowledge sharing, and encouraging collaborative innovation. Though these practices are broadly familiar, their application within cross-industry teams calls for unique leadership approaches that combine flexibility, open-mindedness, humility, and fierce resolve.
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