The term “multidisciplinary teams” originally comes from the health industry and it means “a group of health care workers who are members of different disciplines (professionals e.g.Psychiatrists, Social Workers, etc.), each providing specific services to the patient. They coordinate their services and work together towards a specific set of goals”.

If we were to bring this concept to every industry, could we benefit from it?

Having a team of people with various skills, experiences and backgrounds is key when companies want to foster great, inclusive culture. The so-called “multidisciplinary team” has powers that go beyond just culture, they can also potentialise innovation in the workplace.

Different people with different profiles, points of view and knowledge are the fuel that can take a company above and beyond as diversity is always enriching.

What are the characteristics of a multidisciplinary team?

  • A multidisciplinary team conducts their work based on shared principles
  • Members of the team will have common denominators as well as individual skills
  • When working together, they tend to learn from their peers, who all have a unique set of skills to offer to the group
  • In a multidisciplinary team, co-creation and collaboration are extremely important so that all the different skill sets become complementary to each other

What benefits a multidisciplinary team can bring to an organisation?

  • Multidisciplinary teams tend to be self-sufficient as, together, they possess many different talents that can conquer most problems
  • Although communication can be challenging in a multidisciplinary team, it will work at its best when team members practice empathy and actively listening when sharing points of views amongst peers. Once this happens, a multidisciplinary team becomes a communication powerhouse, with team members that can easily communicate with anyone, no matter how different they are to them
  • Creativity becomes potentialised in these type of teams. This happens because every person in the team is able to contribute creatively with a deep level of knowledge in one subject; when put together, all this knowledge is powerful and can inspire the team to see the collective big picture beyond their own points of view
  • Working with inspiring people that you can learn from is motivating. Team members will feel equal parts inspired and challenged by their peers, which will give them the motivation to keep on bettering themselves
  • Empathy is also, of course, a great outcome of a multidisciplinary team. Diversity in the workplace is a great way to teach people how to truly put themselves in someone else’s shoes

How does empathy impact innovation?

In a very simple way, actually. When creating innovation, a team of people must be able to truly understand the person who will make use of such innovation. Any technology – as magnificent as the science behind it can be – that isn’t intuitive in its functionalities and that doesn’t add any value to the user’s life, cannot be considered innovative. Innovation cannot truly happen without empathy.

Innovation is, above all, a mindset which tells people to always strive for solutions that bring real value to people’s lives. Having a multidisciplinary team that works well together, learn from one another and are empathetic to others is not only wonderful, it is also a powerful catalyst for innovation.

If you’d like to start an innovation journey in your company, you can check out our in-house course offering as well as download for free our Design Thinking toolkit by clicking here.

If you’d like to see what are the upcoming courses in your region, visit our website.

If you have a special project and would like to use Echos’ consultancy services, you can send us an email.

Echos - Innovation Lab

Founded in 2011, Echos – Innovation Lab aims to transform people, organisations and society.

At Echos, we have a “learn by doing” approach, and believe that innovation only happens through people.

Echos’ mission is to foster the new generation of innovators and innovations worldwide.

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