A multidisciplinary approach involves drawing appropriately from multiple academic disciplines to redefine problems outside normal boundaries and reach solutions based on a new understanding of complex situations. One widely used application of this approach is in health care, where people are often looked after by a multidisciplinary team that aims to address their complex clinical and nursing needs.
The multidisciplinary approach has long been used in wars in which different military branches had specialized missions, and in projects in which various engineering specialists cooperated. Such cooperation expanded during World War II by what became known as the military–industrial complex. Notably, the Lockheed Aircraft Company set up its own special projects operation—nicknamed the Skunk Works—in 1943 to develop the XP-80 jet fighter in just 143 days.
In the 1960s and 1970s, the multidisciplinary approach was successfully employed in the UK by architects, engineers, and quantity surveyors working together on major public-sector construction projects and, together with planners, sociologists, geographers, and economists, on overseas regional and urban planning projects. Three London-based professional practices led the field: Ove Arup & Partners, Colin Buchanan & Partners, and Robert Matthew Johnson-Marshall & Partners (RMJM).
- Plsek, PE; Greenhalgh, T (15 September 2001). "Complexity science: The challenge of complexity in health care". BMJ. 323 (7313): 625–8. doi:10.1136/bmj.323.7313.625. PMC . PMID 11557716.
- Green, William, and Gordon Swanborough. The Great Book of Fighters. St. Paul, MN: MBI Publishing, 2001. ISBN 0-7603-1194-3.
- "RMJM Milton Keynes Project"