To build the ‘big ideas crowd’, we can learn from the workshops of the Renaissance, where artisans met and worked with architects, mathematicians, engineers, anatomists and scientists. The result was entrepreneurship and innovation that generated social and economic value. To emulate this kind of collaboration today, corporations can make use of coworking spaces alongside traditional offices, as these spaces bring people together from multiple organisations in the same physical location even though they are not necessarily working on the same project or task. This can work well for non-proprietary projects and knowledge building. Some corporations, including Unilever subsidiaries, are offering employees the opportunity to work at startups for a period of time to help them think outside their traditional roles and build diverse networks.
The ‘big ideas crowd’ also helps companies in times of flux. As jobs are destroyed and new ones created in response to disruptive technological innovation, having a talent pool that can transform by drawing on diverse networks will help produce a more resilient organisation.
The network known as the ‘regenerative community’ is essential in providing emotional support during difficult times and is vital for maintaining resilience. A long-running Harvard University study has found that close social relationships are more important than money in promoting happiness.