I have been asked to present an industry perspective on the need for T-shaped skills at a National Academy of Sciences (NAS) workhop on “STEM Integration Into The Liberal Arts.”
Here is my presentation: https://www.slideshare.net/spohrer/nas-integrated-education-20170406-v7
Here is a podcast (Dave Goldberg, Big Beacon/Whole New Engineer): https://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/98248/exploring-service-science-and-cognitive-systems-an-interview-with-jim-spohrer
In industry, we see the need for business, engineering, social scientists, communications, and legal/policy people to work together and interact a lot on nearly every project. For example, when IBM communications department posted this about Quantum Computing advances http://research.ibm.com/ibm-q/ – behind the scenes, all the above and more had to interact. In the age of accelerations, this becomes more and more true – just think of driverless cars and Uber – if you like controversies.
A range of people study or work to improve this “need for diverse interactions.”
Some call it interactional expertise: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interactional_expertise
Some call it T-shapes and empathy: http://chiefexecutive.net/ideo-ceo-tim-brown-t-shaped-stars-the-backbone-of-ideoae%E2%84%A2s-collaborative-culture/
At IBM, we like T-shapes, and the diversity is not just disciplines, but systems,and cultures as well: http://service-science.info/archives/3328
Of course, integrated education is hard to design – it is hard for a single person to learn just one discipline or area deeply, but to learn several requires a polymath – and too often they are broad not deep, good for connecting, but less so for solving problems that require deep understanding: https://www.wired.com/2013/12/165191/
To achieve integrated education will require a vision and a process, a process that works just a little bit, year over year to eventually get closer and closer to the goal of integrated education – I have called this a Moore’s law for education (not sure if you can access Example 1 on education here http://cacm.acm.org/magazines/2006/7/5871-service-systems-service-scientists-ssme-and-innovation/fulltext) – and the details have been part of service science. Simply put, service science is about improving our ability to play win-win or positive sum games through a better understanding of socio-technical system evolution and design. Socio-technical systems of people and technology interconnected by value propositions are known as service systems. The need for T-shaped people to advance service science and service innovation was written about in this report from University of Cambridge some years ago – notice figure 1 on the gaps beween academic disciplines especially: http://www.ceri.msu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/Cambridge_T-Shaped.pdf
Friedman TL (2016) Thank-you for being late: An optimist’s guide to thriving in the age of accelerations. NY: Farrae, Stauss, Grioux.
Also watch and listen to these two items:
Jim Corgel on the Right Attitude and Skill Set https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gm3cqVuOqMQ
SYSK Empathy: http://www.stuffyoushouldknow.com/podcasts/empathy.htm
For Ashley Bear.
(Arizona State University; Life Sciences Building Room C202; C Wing 401 E. Tyler Mall; Tempe, Arizona; Thursday, April 6th, 2017)