Getting Your Stars to Collaborate

How Dana-Farber turns rival experts into problem-solving partners
Gardner, Heidi K.
Harvard Business School Press
Date published: 
Record type: 
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Harvard Business Review
Harvard Business Review, Vol. 95, No. 1, January-February 2017, pp. 100-108

By pooling their know-how and resources across internal boundaries, organizations can solve problems more creatively, increase their productivity, and reap higher profits. But collaboration is not easy, given how time-pressed managers are, how reluctant they are to cede control over projects and relationships, and how tough it is for them to stop working in silos when they've been doing it for ages. About 10 years ago, leaders at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute realized that the growing complexity of the problems its experts were charged with solving meant their fiefdoms couldn't last forever. In developing a case study about Dana-Farber, Gardner saw firsthand how difficult it was for the organization to move away from a star-based system to one that got researchers working together across specialties and facilities. She demonstrates that its story has clear parallels with business and outlines how executives can pull the levers of change in a wide range of companies.


CITATION: Gardner, Heidi K.. Getting Your Stars to Collaborate . : Harvard Business School Press , 2017. Harvard Business Review, Vol. 95, No. 1, January-February 2017, pp. 100-108 - Available at:

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