Thursday, November 30, 2017

AL DíA: STEM Specialization?

I read an interesting statement today. Something along the lines of, "Forcing our kids to specialize in sports is bad for them." The reasons why it isn't good for youngsters are clear. But this logic doesn't apply to businesses or those trying to market their services to audience.


Every day, I'm amazed at all the awesome projects teacherpreneurs are engaged in. I can't say that I'm as motivated as they are in nurturing an online business (ok, I'm not motivated at all) or consultancy. But what is clear is that traditional companies and organizations (e.g. schools) need to change their approach.
The pace of change makes it dangerous to rely on best practices. Technology is so quickly shaping the future that using only your own personal and professional experience to inform your counsel will make you look behind the times. Advisors and leaders have to be ready to build business models that don’t necessarily have a precedent, and to imagine customer and employee experiences in ways that haven’t been seen before. A good foundation of experience will serve as a great starting point. But to be truly innovative, we need to imagine how technology will transform industries in the months and years ahead.

It’s also becoming clear that clients don’t want consultants to bring general best practices and methods to the table. Rather, they want specific and individual guidance that is most relevant to their specific circumstances. (Source)
That second highlighted section can be frightening, especially for those businesses that have built thriving practices on delivering "general best practices and methods" to the table. Becoming a specialist, when all you've been all your life is a generalist, can be daunting.

Of course, STEM experts are saying something similar:
STEM skills development needs to be introduced and encouraged earlier in children’s education, the panelists agreed. However, success in the digital economy requires more than ramping up STEM capabilities — it requires participation from people with a variety of backgrounds, skillsets, and perspectives...Rather than confine innovation the way it has always been, “what you really need to do is get people with diverse opinions in a room with diverse education and skills in a room to brainstorm, and figure out how to best solve the problem and be creative,” said Abrams. “If you’re gonna get diverse skills and interests and backgrounds that ultimately means diverse people need to be in that room. That’s a key challenge.” 
On reflecting on these point, one glaringly obvious observation comes to mind. What we need to do is encourage generalist approach with soft skills as students are younger. Then, as they focus, encourage deep technical specialization. Then, make sure that all levels, create situations that facilitate a specialist's collaboration with diverse perspectives.

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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