Range

Range

Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World

David Epstein

In low-uncertainty domains, teams of specialists were more likely to author useful patents. In high-uncertainty domains—where the fruitful questions themselves were less obvious—teams that included individuals who had worked on a wide variety of technologies were more likely to make a splash. The higher the domain uncertainty, the more important it was to have a high-breadth team member. As with the molecular biology groups Kevin Dunbar studied that used analogical thinking to solve problems, when the going got uncertain, breadth made the difference.

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