“Big teams take the current frontier and exploit it,” Evans says. “They wring the towel. They get that last ounce of possibility out of yesterday’s ideas, faster than anyone else. But small teams fuel the future, generating ideas that, if they succeed, will be the source of big-team development.”
The researchers looked at more than 65 million scientific papers, patents, and software projects from the past six decades. They concluded that disruptive ideas overwhelmingly come from small teams. But here’s the catch, when small teams are funded by large government funds, they lose their advantage and perform no better than large teams.