Are you a knowledge bridger? That's someone who takes expertise from one field and applies it to solve a problem in a completely different field, thereby creating a breakthrough product or service. Wharton's David Hsu and National University of Singaporee's Kwanghua Lim looked at knowledge bridging in biotech startups and concluded that among the possible strategies to increase knowledge bridging in an organization, the trick was simply to "hire the right people and give them the freedom to follow their curiosity".
If it were only that easy. Just look at the first part, "hire the right people". What would the job posting on Monster look like? And as with any hire, how do you know that you've hired a solid performer rather than an impressive interview performance? Then there's that pesky problem: superstars behaving badly. Will your latest talent turn into a disruptive prima dona? Then there's the availability issue. If you are lucky enough to find the right person, can you win them away from competing job offers? If you "win" them over now, how do you keep them?
These are central issues for the knowledge economy. One approach is to grow your own superstars. Give them resources and opportunity to succeed individually and also take steps to open your corporate culture. Ideas include creating wide transparency across the enterprise; encouraging cross-training, continuing education, and sabbaticals; encourage a sense of community in both physical spaces and electronic ones (via today's collaboration and social software); make sure your innovation process is the best possible; and of course be ready to embrace your distributed knowledge bridgers, wherever they may live or travel.
You can even look for inspiration by being a knowledge bridger... take, for example, Management by Baseball.