When it isn’t possible to create open forms of strategic and innovation work—i.e. to incorporate internal and, in particular, external knowledge in a structured manner—there’s no foundation for creating anything new, let alone something big!

The point is to make connections where there were formerly none. It’s about assuming perspectives that you would not have been able to assume on your own.

“Pollination” occurs when you go beyond your boundaries — those of your discipline, your company, your industry…


It’s 1998, and the end is nigh for Canadian gold company Goldcorp. Demand is low, and the mines are proving unprofitable. During this time, an unconventional idea occurs to CEO McEwen: “What if we put all our geological data online and ask the world where we can find gold?”

McEwen was laughed at. Some called him crazy. A gold company’s geological data is its most important asset. How could you be so careless with it?

The feedback came from all over the globe: from geologists, students, consultants, mathematicians… The most surprising response came not from a geologist, an engineer or a scientist specializing in mining, but from Nick Archibald, the CEO of Australia-based company Fractal-Graphics Ltd. He had never been in a mine before, let alone Canada. But he did have specialized knowledge in 3D computer models, and his company was able to graph the data in three dimensions.
This digital exercise would prove to be worth its weight in gold—and quite a bit at that.