Small teams vs large teams and innovation effects

Large teams develop and small teams disrupt science and technology |  Nature

Analyses of the output produced by large versus small teams of researchers and innovators demonstrate that their work differs systematically in the extent to which it disrupts or develops existing science and technology.

Me: Large teams do more incremental innovation. Small teams do more break-through innovations (which last further into the future, when it works…). Ties in anecdotally to what we know about large company innovation vs smaller tech and biotech innovation (and the high risk, high reward nature of smaller teams / companies). But you need both for a healthy innovation ecosystem.  It seems to be that small teams (less than 8, and say, solo or duo teams) look at older, promising ideas that weren’t developed and take those forward, but also that combining ideas from several fields is effective between 1 and 8 team members, but then falls.

Nature letter here:

Full paper accessible here: