Does Your Team Have a Boundary Spanner?

Monday, 13 June 2016 08:45
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Greater diversity expands team problem solving capabilities.


Subject matter experts bring category specific knowledge and expertise to many types of project work and problem solving situations. There's a collaborative resource that can make valuable contributions when additional creative bandwidth would be helpful. Do you have this resource?

Curious to learn more? Read on, dear friends...

Does Your Team Have a Boundary Spanner?

Most cross functional project teams have subject matter experts that apply their deep knowledge in a given field to a variety of tasks and challenges. Many times, this works just fine. However, sometimes additional ideation bandwidth can be very helpful. Enter, the boundary spanner.

Boundary spanners have broad experience and expertise from a diverse array of product categories. In work discussions with their project team partners, boundary spanners draw upon solutions, materials and approaches from a diverse array of fields to help in problem solving. Does your project team have a boundary spanner? If you don't know or are unsure, you probably don't. Just to be sure, let me describe this expertise with a couple of examples:

A company with expertise in household cleaning products is seeking to create a new environmentally friendly product line. Their traditional technology and patent search tools yield some promising leads, but nothing too unexpected. Their boundary spanner partner recalls having met with a technology provider to discuss their proprietary material used to create aerospace composites for use with another project he was working on. Their strong, open cell, inorganically derived, lightweight material also has terrific abrasive properties. The team is intrigued by this and the boundary spanner makes introductions to enable them to pursue this lead.

A food company is eager to identify productive uses for their perishable product waste streams, instead of spending a fortune to transport and dispose of it. In addition to the options the project team is considering, their boundary spanner was introduced to a company that uses fruit and vegetable waste as feed streams for energy production and a startup that uses it to produce biodegradable packaging materials. He suggests these companies to his team and at their request, collects information for them to review.

Your team needs subject matter experts to solve many of its problems and evaluate technical alternatives. Boundary spanners can partner with your team to act as idea catalysts. Not all problems require their involvement. That said, if you are facing a challenge, it is well worth sharing it with a boundary spanner to learn whether or not they can add value.

In the interest of transparency, while I am not alone in possessing this skill, I am a boundary spanner.

Risk Free Offer:

Under confidentiality, brief me on your challenge and I will tell you straight up if I feel that I can add value or not. (I don't want to waste either of our time).

If we choose to pursue, we can hold a working discussion (either virtually or in person) and you'll experience the dynamics live. Your satisfaction is guaranteed.

Experience what companies some of the world's biggest and best known companies already have: BFS Innovations connects you to the right solutions.

"Connecting You With The Right Solutions" BFS Innovations, Inc.

Since 2005, BFS Innovations has helped its Fortune 500 clients with technology scouting, new business creation and business development services. Contact Michael today at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at 614 937-2408 to discuss your company's needs.

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