Comment on 21st Century Renaissance Man

AsylumSeaker Sun, Aug 15, 2010
Hi Olena, thanks for the comment.

I think the 'synergy' I was talking about comes from two places.

Firstly it comes from the creation of new talents by combining disperate ones. If you're a biologist and an architect for example then you're both of those, but you can also combine those fields into a new field called bioarchitecture, and you can just see the extra potential in that based on the word alone. You get the skills of both your fields, plus the combinatory skills that emerge.

Secondly it comes out of evading the diminishing returns of specialisation. A specialist of 10 years experience is perhaps twice as good as one of 5 years, however is a specialist of 20 years really twice as good as one of 10 years? It doesn't really seem so. It's not that as specialists age they get worse at learning, or that they run out of things to learn, it's that the applicability of what you can learn in one field is not infinite. If instead of focusing on one field you spend 10 years each in 2 seperate fields, or 5 years each in 4 seperate fields you could attain all the most applicable skills of those fields and thus have more efficiently used your time. This isn't synergy per se but it's important.

I do agree that a focused study of one field gains a far more comprehensive understanding and I believe we do need some people specialising like that. It will always be specialists who expand on fields since they will know their fields best. Specialists will always be needed as consultants and as members of teams. Such people are essential, but I think specialisation its self will become a specialised position as the all-rounder / polymath becomes more dominant due to its practicality and flexibility.