Why Do You
Need Cross-Functional Excellence?
"My poor dad said, 'You need to know a lot about one specialty'.
dad said, 'You need to learn a little about a lot of things.' "
Innovation is a pervasively cross-functional process. Although innovation is driven by
technology, required competence extends beyond technical know-how. In the
new knowledge economy and
systemic innovative solutions arise from complex interactions between
many individuals, organizations and environmental factors. The boundaries
between products and services fade rapidly too. If you wish to be a
market leaders today, you must be able to integrate in a
balanced way different types of know-how that would transform
stand-alone technologies, products and services into a seamless, value-rich
No Idea is Wasted!
can accept only those ideas that have a frame of reference with your
existing knowledge. It rejects everything else. If your knowledge is
functionally focused, you'll be open to new ideas related to your functional
expertise only and will miss all other learning and innovation
If you develop a broad cross-functional
expertise, no new idea is wasted. It will immediately connect with the
existing knowledge and inspire you, energize you, and encourage your
The broader your net, the more fish you can catch.
business system approach
business development and the management process is what distinguishes
modern cross-functionally excellent
IT Architect: Modern
IT Leader: New Roles of a CIO
Modern ICT-powered Value Chain
IT architects are in growing demand. They
are cross-functionally excellent people who can "tie several silos of
expertise together," relate to
business problems as well as technology, and
then sell their ideas upward and downward in the corporate hierarchy. The
position of IT architect has become increasingly important to the
ever-changing IT industry, and is one that established corporations and
start-ups are seeking. "As IT positions become more specialized and
include increasingly detailed responsibilities, there's a need for someone
who can tie several silos of expertise together," says Al Volvano, a product
manager for Microsoft's Learning Group.
Enterprise architects aren't just
technology experts; they are
leaders with broad IT knowledge, the savvy to
apply it to business
problems and the
communication skills necessary to coordinate the people who will put
their plans into action," says Bill Liguori, co-founder of the placement firm Leadership Capital Group.7
Master of Business
Being good in separated functions
anymore. If you want
to be a
market leader, you must be
able to build innovative synergies. You must
business processes, functions,
Business e-Coach, a new-to-the-world product and the world leader in
business e-coaching is a great illustration of the power of cross-functional
expertise as a source of
advantage. The e-Coach integrates synergistically and
many various expertises to inspire
and entrepreneurial creativity. Launched in 2001 initially as a
hobby and later on as a home business, it has today customers in 130+ countries. This global success
has not created any direct competition to Business e-Coach however. Why? Because potential me-tooers had no
cross-functional experts to be able to develop a competitive service and
keep upgrading it continuously at high speed.
10 Success Lessons
KoRe 10 Innovative
Kore 10 Metaphoric Tools
invent new things,
anticipate market shifts and your opponents' moves, find creative
to a complex problem design
Bill Gates believes that the greater the human
"bandwidth" that he employs (in other words, collective intelligence
Microsoft hires and develops), the greater the strength of his company.
Narrow-minded technologists have never fitted Gates' broader ambitions.
Gates uses the word "bandwidth" to describe people's intellectual