Harnessed Expertise Produces Winning Solution
Interview with an IdeaConnection Problem Solver
TJ Cradick majored in Biology as an undergraduate at MIT, and completed all the coursework in Mechanical Engineering plus graduate and a med school class. He received a Masters in Immunology from UC San Francisco and a PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Iowa. In addition, TJ has worked in a number of biotech and consulting settings.
A consultant with whom I worked previously recommended IdeaConnection to me, so I signed up as a Problem Solver.
The degree of difficulty of the challenges varies, but tackling these Challenges as a group allows us to take on parts of the projects that match our interests and abilities. Areas that match ones background directly or indirectly move more quickly or easily. The most exciting moments came for me on developing an idea from a concept in a field I knew well, and finding literature supporting its application in the field in question.
We all had rough ideas that we thought would work and likely a number would have. Part of the process was to advance and support the Solution that best fit the requirements of the Seeker, which is where the group setting and facilitator proved useful.
The favored Solution improved over time as we received a bit more feedback from the Seeker and through input from the team. In the end, we had to make sure that the proposal would satisfy the Seeker and we hoped that it would be tested soon.
Quite a number of ideas were discussed that varied in scope and needed expertise. Some of these may serve the Seeker well in downstream projects. Our group often framed our discussions based on the criteria put forth, so that we could focus on the primary Solution that might best satisfy the Seeker.
This project was an effective collaboration and each member contributed. We were excited that they approved the proposal and may soon be putting the Solution into practice.
Having a group of experts in different fields allowed us to each voice our opinions and suggestions based on our previous experience and literature searches. The group dynamic prepared us for presentation to the Seeker, as we also had to convince the others.
The facilitator was helpful as a central coordinator and helped focus our suggested Solutions on the specific requirements of the Seekers.
I am continuing to work on new Challenges and part of one now. Every challenge presents a new central question and requires extensive literature searches that familiarize us with research outside our previous experience.
Using open innovation to solve Challenges allows Seekers to find solutions that result from pulling together a group of individuals with extensive amount of experience in a wide array of tangential fields. Much more expertise can be harnessed than can be hired or often pulled together from within an organization.
I enjoyed the Challenge and achieving a winning solution with our group and facilitator, and think I leaned a few new things along the way. It was fun to work with people with such a varied background.