Cross-Pollinators
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Cross-Pollinators
Exploring how generalism can benefit modern organizations.
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About Cross-Pollinators

About Cross-Pollinators | Cross-Pollinators | Scoop.it

The aim of this site - Cross-Pollinators - is to provide you with insights into the hybrid nature of generalists - people who live in more than one world.


I believe leaders need to recognize the value generalists contribute with in modern organizations. 


The term Cross-Pollinators originates from David Kelley's book: The Ten Faces of Innovation. He describes Cross-Pollinators as people who draws associations and connections between seemingly unrelated ideas or concepts to break new ground.


Armed with a wide set of interests, an avid curiosity, and an aptitude for learning and teaching, Cross-Pollinators brings in big ideas from the outside world to enliven their organization.


People in this role can often be identified by their open mindedness, diligent note-taking, tendency to think in metaphors, and ability to reap inspiration from constraints.


                                                 ★★★★★ 


About Kenneth Mikkelsen


I believe that knowledge is everything. Knowledge is ideas. Knowledge is power. Knowledge is hope. 

But only if it is shared and applied.


That is why I created Cross-Pollinators on Scoop.it. My personal aim is to provide you with stories you can learn and grow from. The kind of stories that provokes personal reflection and constructive action. 

I'm co-founder of FutureShifts, a consultancy that helps visionary companies identify and tackle the big shifts in the world by cultivating the skills, mindsets, behaviors and organizational cultures needed to succeed in times of change.


You're welcome to connect via: 

 

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/kennethmikkelsen

Google+: https://plus.google.com/+KennethMikkelsen

Twitter: www.twitter.com/LeadershipABC

 

I hope you'll be inspired.

 

Enjoy!

 

Kenneth

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David Hain's curator insight, July 20, 2013 1:47 AM

Some great material here.  Kenneth is a fine curator and collaborator.

Margarida Sá Costa's curator insight, November 8, 2013 9:12 AM

are you a cross-pollinator?

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8 Habits of Curious People

8 Habits of Curious People | Cross-Pollinators | Scoop.it

We are born curious, but when answers are valued more than questions, we forget how to ask. Here's how to relearn an old habit.


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Let's Bring The Polymath — and the Dabblers

Let's Bring The Polymath — and the Dabblers | Cross-Pollinators | Scoop.it

Some of the most exciting advancements in computing right now come from the field of deep learning, and companies such as Facebook, Google, IBM, and Microsoft are all involved because frankly, this kind of interdisciplinary approach isn’t happening in academia. Where are all the generalists, anyway? The startup world is beating academics at their own game.

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

We obviously require specialized experts to solve specific problems; think about the field of medicine, for example. Yet the most exciting inventions occur at the boundaries of disciplines, among those who can bring different ideas from different fields together.


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Making it up as I go along

Making it up as I go along | Cross-Pollinators | Scoop.it

This is the story of how Ian Sanders ended up where he is today, and the fifteen lessons he learned along the way. A highly recommended read. 


Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Ian addresses 15 things in this long read.


They are:

#1 Having a goal is more important than having a plan

#2 Ignore anyone who says no to your goal

#3 The best time to join an organisation is when it’s starting up

#4 Get good at the photocopying

#5 ‘Creative’ Vs ‘Non Creative’ is a myth

#6 Generalists are under-rated

#7 ‘Work’ is a mindset, not a place you go

#8 What’s your ‘sawdust’?

#9 Why I love Twitter

#10 You don’t need to go on a course for everything

#11 Your career is a playground

#12 The things that make you weird as a kid will make you great tomorrow

#13 Every business needs a storyteller

#14 The Digital Opportunity

#15 What’s your compass?


In particular, I enjoyed reading #6 + #8 + #12.  


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Forget IDEO's T-shaped Thinkers - enter "Meta"

Forget IDEO's T-shaped Thinkers - enter "Meta" | Cross-Pollinators | Scoop.it

If you follow the latest in business thinking, you would have come across the popular - or should I say "populist" - Design Thinking (DT) movement. You might have even heard of IDEO. They are the company that turned the rather loose notion of business as "art" into a profitable consulting model. You've probably heard of so called "T-shaped thinkers". According to Tim Brown and others at IDEO, T-shaped thinkers are the new Da Vincis. They master both the ability to think broadly and deeply. They are generalists and specialists at the same time.

 

The beauty of simple models, like IDEO's T-shaped thinkers is they are simple to convey and remember. Their marketing power is undeniable, and they serve the consulting model superbly. But the drawback is they are often too simplistic to be accurate. 


Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

In this LinkedIn blog post Liviu Nedelescu introduces an alternative to the T-shaped thinker. He proposes that generalism embeds a capacity for "meta" thinking. Meta-thinking is the awareness of the applicability of certain methods, approaches, ways of thinking or even disciplines as a whole. 

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Published for the First Time: a 1959 Essay by Isaac Asimov on Creativity

Published for the First Time: a 1959 Essay by Isaac Asimov on Creativity | Cross-Pollinators | Scoop.it

The history of human thought would make it seem that there is difficulty in thinking of an idea even when all the facts are on the table. Making the cross-connection requires a certain daring. It must, for any cross-connection that does not require daring is performed at once by many and develops not as a “new idea,” but as a mere “corollary of an old idea.”

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Isaac Asimov's essay on creativity is some of the best writing I've come across about creativity. A highly recommended read! 

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Be an Opportunity Maker

Be an Opportunity Maker | Cross-Pollinators | Scoop.it

We all want to use our talents to create something meaningful with our lives. But how to get started? Writer Kare Anderson shares her own story of chronic shyness, and how she opened up her world by helping other people use their own talents and passions.

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

A wonderful talk by Kare Anderson on the importance of having a mutuality mindset and being an opportunity maker. 


This is something that deeply resonates with my own experiences in life and why I call myself a knowledge broker. Someone who connects people and ideas. 


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David Hain's curator insight, November 7, 2014 4:52 AM

Brilliant talk about overcoming fear and igniting hope among others.

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Buckminster Fuller Against Specialization

Buckminster Fuller Against Specialization | Cross-Pollinators | Scoop.it

We are in an age that assumes the narrowing trends of specialization to be logical, natural, and desirable.


Specialization has bred feelings of isolation, futility, and confusion in individuals. It has also resulted in the individual’s leaving responsibility for thinking and social action to others.


Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

A wonderful curation of Buckminster Fuller's view on specialism and generalist by Maria Popova.

 

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Creatives: Your Country Needs You!

Creatives: Your Country Needs You! | Cross-Pollinators | Scoop.it

It’s no secret that businesses are currently facing a number of challenges. So what is our alternative? Creativity. In all its glorious, diverse manifestations.

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Generalism versus Specialism

Generalism versus Specialism | Cross-Pollinators | Scoop.it

There exists a conspiracy against the Generalist. Society today rewards those who specialize: doctors, manufacturing, athletes, teachers, salesmen, cops, skilled laborers, investors, engineers, lawyers. Being labeled a Generalist often comes with ridicule of being luke-warm, a moderate, uncommitted, or without passion. But those images are false. They are hallucinations. Time and time again, real life actually penalizes the Specialist.


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Corporations Aren't Recruiting Enough Weirdos

Corporations Aren't Recruiting Enough Weirdos | Cross-Pollinators | Scoop.it

You want to hire the weird people who offer reserves of untapped, disruptive innovation, not the socially awkward types with big egos

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Leaders should hire people who embody different traits and skills that are most important to the company’s goals. Those differences include subtle ones—such as personality, ways of thinking, or problem-solving—as well as visible differences, such as race, gender, or culture.


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It’s Never Been More Lucrative to Be a Math-Loving People Person

It’s Never Been More Lucrative to Be a Math-Loving People Person | Cross-Pollinators | Scoop.it

Parents who spend a good chunk of the week shuttling kids to and from soccer practice or drama club might be comforted by new research that suggests this effort is not in vain – as long as their kids are good at math, too.


recent paper from UCSB found that the return on being good at math has gone up over the last few decades, as has the return on having high social skills (some combination of leadership, communication, and other interpersonal skills). But, the paper argues, the return on the two skills together has risen even faster.



Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Research on the skills rewarded by today’s economy. 

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Specialism, Generalism, Details and the Big Picture

Specialism, Generalism, Details and the Big Picture | Cross-Pollinators | Scoop.it

There is a historic connection between interdisciplinary studies and a wider, more general higher education. Crudely, one can see that if putting two established disciplines together leads to interdisciplinarity then attempting to put four or five together may lead to a broader, more general education.


Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Carl Gombrich makes a strong case for generalists who pride themselves on ‘seeing the Big Picture’.


Carl writes a wonderful blog. Read it here and follow him on Twitter: @carlgomb


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Five Traits of the Digital Renaissance Leaders

Five Traits of the Digital Renaissance Leaders | Cross-Pollinators | Scoop.it

IT needs more leaders who possess the necessary breadth of knowledge and experience to help organizations deal with the business challenges of today.

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

The Digital Renaissance Leader will be defined by his or her:


  • Service
  • Eagerness to learn
  • Curiosity
  • Connectedness
  • Emotional awareness


These five traits will be the glue that will allow digital leaders of the future to explore and connect different disciplines together to find the solutions that others will miss, solutions that we will desperately need in our complex world.


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In the Age of Information, Specializing to Survive

In the Age of Information, Specializing to Survive | Cross-Pollinators | Scoop.it

As the amount of human-created information spirals ever higher, our ability to sift through it has not kept pace. Increasingly condensed specialization is one result.

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

If the information age makes knowledge seem like a straitjacket, David Galenson, a professor of economics at the University of Chicago, notes that progress often hinges on those rare individuals who have escaped its bonds. Artists from Picasso to Bob Dylan and entrepreneurs including Bill Gates and Steve Jobs changed the world by finding “radically new ways of looking at old problems,” Mr. Galenson said. “They cut through all the accumulated stuff — forget what’s been done — to see something special, something new."


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In 1982, Steve Jobs presented an amazingly accurate theory about where creativity comes from

In 1982, Steve Jobs presented an amazingly accurate theory about where creativity comes from | Cross-Pollinators | Scoop.it

"If you're gonna make connections which are innovative ... you have to not have the same bag of experiences as everyone else does," Jobs said, echoing research on creativity, "or else you're going to make the same connections [as everybody else], and then you won't be innovative, and then nobody will give you an award."


Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

According to the psychology studies, the most creative people pursue an expansive range of experiences, which gives them the fuel for ideas. The more varied the inputs, the more original the outputs.


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Miklos Szilagyi's curator insight, February 22, 12:24 PM

"...The more varied the inputs, the more original the outputs. 

 

For Jobs, that was the problem with the conventional path of high school to college to career — it leads to conventional ideas..."



Read more:  http://uk.businessinsider.com/steve-jobs-theory-of-creativity-2015-2?r=US#ixzz3SUn1mC6K

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Richard Martin - The Reimagining Work Podcast

Richard Martin - The Reimagining Work Podcast | Cross-Pollinators | Scoop.it

In this episode of The Reimagining Work. John Wenger and Rogier Noort talk to Richard Martin (@IndaloGenesis).


Richard is a writer, editor and a Social Business consultant. He’s also a thought leader in his field, and has his own distinct way of looking at the “Enterprise 2.0″ problem, or challenge.


One of the thought provoking ideas is that being multidisciplinary might provide a more flexible basis for an individual to perform (and survive) in a modern working environment (The WWW People). In an era where (hyper)specialism is hailed by HR as being what it is they look for, they tend to ignore the vast experience of those whom have looked further than simply what’s in front of them.


In this day and age, where flexibility, and (very quick) adaptation and innovation is becoming more of a rule than an exception, the value of being multidisciplinary cannot be overestimated.


#WWWpeople are polymathic generalists, multi-disciplinarians, specialists in many fields, offering breadth & depth of curiosity & action

— Richard Martin (@IndaloGenesis) January 31, 2015


Le Peleton

One of the greatest metaphors for the modern working environment I ever heard can be found in cycling. Being a cycling enthusiast, Richard has experienced these dynamics up close. And once you know what to look for, Le Tour de France becomes so much more interesting to watch. Those who know understand, or..those who understand know.


There are many metaphors in business. As we are focusing on people, though, I wanted to use a human example. One that also suggested the communion between us, technology and machine: the cycling peloton. For me, this is an example of the responsive, adaptive organisation to which many of us aspire. The peloton is united in common purpose. But there are many different objectives within its confines.


You can find Richard on his website: http://indalogenesis.com, and of course on Twitter.


Please enjoy the podcast.

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Ready For The Internet of Things? 5 Skills You'll Need

Ready For The Internet of Things? 5 Skills You'll Need | Cross-Pollinators | Scoop.it

What will be most essential for success when the Internet of Things becomes mainstream? These 5 skills will dial up your innovation capability.

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

This fall, the National Science Foundation (NSF) completed a two-year study on what it takes to be ‘innovative’ as an individual. A complete summary of results will be released in 2015, but among the 20 qualities identified, five are crucial to spanning the entire spectrum of the innovation process itself.


These five qualities offer a compass for every individual and every organization seeking to map its future as the Internet of Things approaches:


  1. Associative Thinker – Joins or connects ideas and facts from different experiences. Transposes observations across unrelated domains.
  2. Collaborator – Brings together people with a diversity of knowledge to solve complex problems. Actively integrates knowledge or strategies of others though they may differ from their own.
  3. Communicator – Explains ideas or concepts effectively through multiple means including writing, speaking, gestures, pictures, diagrams or stories.
  4. Knowledgeable – Possesses expertise that is both broad and deep. Is skilled in independent learning.
  5. Persistent – Continues to do something although it is hard, and other people want your actions to stop. Continues beyond the usual or expected effort.


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Miklos Szilagyi's curator insight, December 7, 2014 5:05 PM

I especially like the associative thinking part...:-)))

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Renaissance People Don't Want to Choose Only One Career

Renaissance People Don't Want to Choose Only One Career | Cross-Pollinators | Scoop.it

Many creative people are multitalented: accomplished and active – even exceptional – in more than one area of creative expression and with varied interests.


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The Psychology of Why Creative Work Hinges on Memory and Connecting the Unrelated

The Psychology of Why Creative Work Hinges on Memory and Connecting the Unrelated | Cross-Pollinators | Scoop.it

 In Notebooks of the Mind: Explorations of Thinking, psycholinguist Vera John-Steiner cracks open the minds of 100 different creative individuals - writers, artists, composers, choreographers - via original interviews and an analysis of their existing notebooks, journals, letters, and scientific records, shedding light on the central elements and essential patterns of creative thought.


Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Among the invisible tools of creative individuals is their ability to hold on to the specific texture of their past. Their skill is akin to that of a rural family who lives through the winter on food stored in their root cellar…The creative use of one’s past, however, requires a memory that is both powerful and selective.


A powerful and personally developed structuring of information — an active and selective memory — is as necessary for scientists as it is for poets.


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Passion Equals Performance

Your dream employee: She searches for new, better, solutions to challenging problems, takes meaningful risks to improve performance, performs at a higher level with each passing year, works the hours needed to get the job done, is well connected to others internally and externally who work in related domains, and cuts across silos to deliver results. If this worker, who exhibits all the attributes of the “passion of the Explorer,” works for you, congratulations.


Via Becky Willmoth
Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

The Explorers portrayed in this report from Deloitte University Press help themselves and the companies they work for develop the capabilities to constantly learn and improve performance. 


These are the modern-day generalist that exhibits three attributes: questing, connecting, and commitment to domain.

 


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Becky Willmoth's curator insight, October 14, 2014 7:19 AM

Fascinating research from John Hagel at the Deloitte Center for the Edge, on the relationship between passion and performance, including guidance on how to cultivate passionate employees. A key distinction drawn within this paper is between what passionate employees earn vs. what motivates them. The research indicates that financial reward does not increase employees’ passion nor does it significantly impact on their performance. Instead passion is fostered via experiences and environments that enable employee’s sufficient autonomy to take risks, opportunities to improve their performance, and the chance to connect with others across and beyond the organization.

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Richard Florida: More Transformations Ahead

Richard Florida: More Transformations Ahead | Cross-Pollinators | Scoop.it

Interview with Richard Florida (The Rise of the Creative Class - Revisited): How the Creative Class will transform the next decade, and why artists and musicians predict next moves.

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The Polymathic Principle

The Polymathic Principle | Cross-Pollinators | Scoop.it

The  engine of polymathics, why it works, is the synergy between different areas of knowledge. The more you know the better- but not just arithmetically, exponentially. Fields of knowledge cross-fertilise each other in many, often surprising, ways. The kernal of creativity is, after all, putting together things that have never been put together before. Learning skills, honed on one area become useful in another. You get different perspectives the more you know, and a different perspective can mean everything.


Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Everyone will tell you one thing; specialise, specialise, specialise…don’t.

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Don’t Dismiss the Humanities

Don’t Dismiss the Humanities | Cross-Pollinators | Scoop.it

The humanities aren’t obscure, arcane or irrelevant. They awaken our souls, influence how we think about inequality, and help us adapt to a changing world.

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Read also this related story from Fast Company: Why Top Tech CEOs Want Employees With Liberal Arts Degrees and this write-up of a conference on the same topic at MIT: Humanities in the digital age.

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To Build A Truly Creative Workplace, Hire For Outside Passions

To Build A Truly Creative Workplace, Hire For Outside Passions | Cross-Pollinators | Scoop.it

FiftyThree - the company behind the popular sketching app Paper - hire people who are very good at collaborating, and the best proxy they found for this is to find someone who is good in a core discipline that’s relevant to the work that they’re doing- - engineering, design, sales, legal, whatnot - but then they also need to be good at something else. It doesn’t really matter what that other thing is, as long as you got really good at it.



Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Once you meet the staff of FiftyThree, you'll challenge yourself to learn something new - and master it.

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Mark Ecko: Embrace the Mess

Whether it's due to exclusive communities in your industry or a slavish devotion to page views, tweets, and awards, it's easy to get caught up in pleasing others. Entrepreneur, media mogul, and designer Marc Eckō tell us that, if we're not careful, we can let others label us and define our career, robbing us of our natural potential. The solution? Stand up for yourself. What the gatekeepers may cite as a reason for your exclusion may very well lead to your success.

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Thank you, Arnold Beekes for pointing me to this video! 


I also recommend that you read fellow curator, @Richard Martin's blog post about label dodging here

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