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Musings of a Xennial

The Secret Power Of The Generalist — And How They’ll Rule The Future

Posted on 2013/06/10 in Business, Entrepreneurship, Google+, Innovation

The article offers to frame specialists and generalists using the animal kingdom context: "Specialist creatures like the koala bear can only survive on an extremely limited set of conditions: diet (eucalyptus), climate (warm), environment (trees). Generalists, on the other hand (think mice) are able to survive just about anywhere. They can withstand heat and cold, eat your organic breakfast cereal or seeds and berries foraged in the wild."

We then are given an overview of the power of each type: "As a result, specialist species thrive only when conditions are perfect. They serve a very specific purpose within their particular ecosystem and are extremely adept at navigating it. However, should those conditions change—as a result of nature or, more commonly, an outside force—specialist species often become extinct. In contrast, mice can move from spot to spot on the globe, adapt to different cultures, diets and weather systems. And most importantly, stay alive. In a professional setting, employees operate on a similar spectrum. "

The article then makes the case that generalists offer the power of putting data into a larger picture, within a larger context, which can be a challenge to the specialized and focused experts.

Of course, you need both types of employees to succeed.

The Secret Power Of The Generalist — And How They’ll Rule The Future
We’ve become a society that’s data rich and meaning poor. A rise in specialists in all areas—science, math, history, psychology—has resulted in tremendous content. But how valuable is that knowledge without context?

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