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?
Despite the corporate world’s insistence on specialization, the workers most likely to come out on top are generalists – but not just because of their innate ability to adapt to new workplaces, job descriptions or cultural shifts. Instead, according to writer Carter Phipps, author of Evolutionaries generalists will thrive in a culture where it’s becoming increasingly valuable to know “a little bit about a lot.”
Meaning that where you fall on the spectrum of specialist to generalist could be one of the most important aspects of your personality – and your survival in an ever-changing workplace.
ROBERT STEELE: We have specialized to the point of insanity — PhDs knowing everything about nothing. In 1998, writing in Forbes ASAP, Peter Drucker observed that we have spent the past 50 years focusing on the T in IT, and now need to spend the next 50 years focusing on the I in IT. That was my opening point to the first public NSA conference held in Las Vegas, but despite interest among the rank and file, my ideas for intelligence reform have never gained traction with the technocrat leaders who live to keep the problem alive and keep the money moving, not to actually create evidence-based decision-support helpful to everybody. We are long overdue for a revolution in intelligence affairs, one that makes a holistic analytic model and true cost economics central to everything done by all collectors, processors, and analysts. We must embrace the ten high level threats to humanity, and help harmonize services, behavior, and products across all policy areas mindful of the importance of the twelve major demographic powers of the future. No one serving in the US Government at this time has the combination of authority, intelligence, and integrity to understand these fundamentals, much less embrace them.