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A Work of Art

Creating a business masterpiece takes a palette of different ideas.

This story appears in the December 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Want the next great idea in business to be yours? Put together ateam of people with differing ideas, viewpoints and experiences.Consultant Frans Johansson studied successful idea-generators frombusiness, science, the arts and elsewhere and found thatcross-cultural and cross-disciplinary combinations were far moreeffective at producing revolutionary insights than lone inventorsor groups of people with like backgrounds.

In The Medici Effect (HBS Press, $24.95)Johansson expands on this observation by showing how to overcomeproblems and improve the results of idea-generating campaigns. Toexpand the range of your ideas, for example, try assumptionreversal: Start with a fact about a business, and reverse it. Doall restaurants have menus? Assume that your restaurant has nomenus, and see where it leads you. The book's title is inspiredby the Renaissance-era Italian family that sponsored Leonardo daVinci. If you can't read it and come up with at least a minorMona Lisa or two, you're not trying.

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