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Building New Knowledge and the Role of Synthesis in Innovation

International Journal of Innovation Science

ISSN: 1757-2223

Article publication date: 29 July 2009



We innovate to create competitive advantage. Competitive advantage is found in new knowledge, which solves the buyer's problem. Humans create new knowledge in three ways: through Discovery - stumbling upon something that solves a problem; through Experimentation - trying different approaches to a problem until the solution is found; and through Synthesis - combining existing knowledge to create new knowledge. Today, Synthesis is the most common way we solve problems. Everyone synthesizes, but some people are extraordinarily good at it. They see the big picture, and how all the pieces fit together. Their brains have the ability to reach great mental distances to find remote metaphors which presents knowledge that turns into great solutions. Mixing your experts with people who are novice super-synthesizers can create best in class solutions and give a company a sustainable competitive advantage.


Burnett, B. (2009), "Building New Knowledge and the Role of Synthesis in Innovation", International Journal of Innovation Science, Vol. 1 No. 1, pp. 13-27.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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