Understanding Matchmakers’ Experiences, Principles and Practices of Assembling Innovation Teams
The team composition of a project team is an essential determinant of the success of innovation projects that aim to produce novel solution ideas. Team assembly is essentially complex and sensitive decision-making, yet little supported by information technology (IT). In order to design appropriate digital tools for team assembly, and team formation more broadly, we call for profoundly understanding the practices and principles of matchmakers who manually assemble teams in specific contexts. This paper reports interviews with 13 expert matchmakers who are regularly assembling multidisciplinary innovation teams in various organizational environments in Finland. Based on qualitative analysis of their experiences, we provide insights into their established practices and principles in team assembly. We conceptualize and describe common tactical approaches on different typical levels of team assembly, including arranging approaches like “key-skills-first”, “generalist-first” and “topic-interest-first”, and balancing approaches like “equally-skilled-teams” and “high-expertise-teams”. The reported empirical insights can help to design IT systems that support team assembly according to different tactics.