Innovations happen at the intersection of disciplines. People have talked about that a lot and I think we're providing some systematic evidence now with this study. Another example is that a pharmaceutical company got unusual toxicology results for an ongoing drug study. The best toxicologists within the firm had a look at the results and couldn't understand them. Their external academic consultants, also toxicologists, also failed to interpret the results. Then they finally posted it onto InnoCentive. A protein crystallographer looked at the problem and basically gave an off-the-shelf solution. The pharmaceutical company had never viewed the problem as a crystallography problem; they thought it was a toxicology problem. Again, this opened up a whole new domain for the firm to pursue in terms of future studies as to how to think about the types of problems they face.
We see this in many different places. The insight is that what you want to do is open up your problem to other people—not just to serendipity, but in some systematic way.