The Neo-Generalist
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5 Ways To Innovate By Cross-Pollinating Ideas

5 Ways To Innovate By Cross-Pollinating Ideas | The Neo-Generalist | Scoop.it

How to combine unlike concepts to create the next big thing. What happens when you cross a checkerboard with a midnight snack?

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Excerpt from article: 


Connecting unexpected people, places, objects, and ideas provides a huge boost to your imagination. You can practice this skill by using provocative metaphors, interacting with those outside your normal circles, building on existing ideas, and finding inspiration in unlikely places. These approaches enhance creative thinking and are terrific tools for generating fresh ideas.

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SweetBobbyJ's curator insight, July 18, 2013 3:01 PM

By combining very different things we can come up with new ideas. Hmmm. Very interesting. 

The Neo-Generalist
Insights into the hybrid nature of generalists.
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Satisfied and Contented People Live in More Than One World

Bruce Rosenstein, author of the excellent biography 'Living in More Than One World', talks about Peter Drucker's philosophy of life. 

 

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

"The satisfied and contented people I knew where all people who lived in more than one world." 
- Peter F. Drucker

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The Secret of Buckminister Fuller’s World-Changing Ideas Was Serendipity

The Secret of Buckminister Fuller’s World-Changing Ideas Was Serendipity | The Neo-Generalist | Scoop.it

Buckminister Fuller's bewitching inventions, books, and lectures were designed to spur serendipitous thinking in others. He knew that “new ideas might emerge from the chance meeting of disparate information in a curious mind.” 

 

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

This interview with Jonathon Keats relates to his book, You Belong to the Universe: Buckminster Fuller and the Future.   

 

Excerpt from the interview: 

In his own life Fuller courted the lucky discovery. “He was an autodidact and a generalist, meaning that ideas from many realms could intermix freely in his mind,” Keats says. “Society needs generalists, who can bring essential creativity to the world’s problems.”

 

Read or listen to these related interviews with Keats: 

 

City Lights (podcast)

The Rumpus

Wired Magazine

 

 

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The Neo-Generalist

The Neo-Generalist | The Neo-Generalist | Scoop.it

In their new book The Neo-Generalist, authors Kenneth Mikkelsen and Richard Martin claim that our cultural, societal and professional worlds are enthralled by extreme and inhibitory specialisation, and that it is time to make a change. They argue that now more than ever, we need the outlook of the ‘neo-generalist’ if we want to thrive in an uncertain future.

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Many of the lessons presented in The Neo-Generalist are drawn from interviews with professionals, artists, writers, scientists, athletes and film makers, as well as from historical figures that each in their separate ways embody the neo-generalist approach to work and life. This diverse cast of characters underlines a point central to the book: that there is no fixed, one-way approach to neo-generalism, and that what Mikkelsen and Martin are describing is more of a mindset than a how-to guide. Read our interview with Mikkelsen and Martin here.

 

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6 Things To Do When Your Job Kills Your Curiosity

6 Things To Do When Your Job Kills Your Curiosity | The Neo-Generalist | Scoop.it

Your job may be routine and monotonous, but what goes on inside your head doesn't have to be.

 

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Curious people are more willing and able to connect with others, which equips them to collaborate, whether in person or virtually. Third, curiosity may even be an antidote to job automation: If you don’t want your skills to get outdated or outsourced to a robot, you'd better keep learning!

 

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The Value of the Neo-Generalist at Work

The Value of the Neo-Generalist at Work | The Neo-Generalist | Scoop.it

In this interview, co-author Richard Martin shares his views on why corporates need big-picture thinkers to be working alongside hyperspecialists. He highlights some of the characteristics and behaviours typical of a neo-generalist, describing their impact on the management of relationships at work. He also offers some examples of how neo-generalists seek to stay relevant in the workplace.

 

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The Neo-Generalist, and why we should all have ‘one’

The Neo-Generalist, and why we should all have ‘one’ | The Neo-Generalist | Scoop.it

Review of The Neo-Generalist by Mark Storm.  

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The Neo-Generalist

The Neo-Generalist | The Neo-Generalist | Scoop.it

Review of The Neo-Generalist by Harold Jarche.  

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The Restless Multidisciplinarian

The Restless Multidisciplinarian | The Neo-Generalist | Scoop.it

The neo-generalist is both specialist and generalist, often able to master multiple disciplines.

 

Neo-generalists are catalysts, sparks which move others to action. They are translators and border crossers, following their curiosity into the unknown, bridging between multiple disciplines, exposing people to new perspectives that challenge their preconceptions.

 

 

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

This is the first interview by Patrick Tanguay from E-180 Magazine related to The Neo-Generalist, coming out in September, 2016.

 

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Why the Renaissance man – and woman – is making a comeback

Why the Renaissance man – and woman – is making a comeback | The Neo-Generalist | Scoop.it

For new economies to emerge, and breakthroughs to be made, we need multi-specialised lateral thinkers who can connect the dots in unexpected ways. We need contemporary Leonardo da Vincis. We need 21st century polymaths. 

 

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

A fine article by Lee Scott. 

 

Polymathism in the 21st century is no longer about “mastering” multiple fields of study, nor is it about being a generalist. It’s about acquiring a set of critical attributes that allow one to excel across subject areas as opportunities occur, and to negotiate interdisciplinary collaboration with a critical eye, and an informed outlook.

 

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Mapping Education’s Next Transformation

Mapping Education’s Next Transformation | The Neo-Generalist | Scoop.it

To meet society’s changing needs, our antique educational system has to change or it will get a failing grade.

 

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

We are to prepare people for jobs that do not exist today. What they will need are interdisciplinary skills, the ability to continuously learn and experiment, the ability to adapt to new technologies and use technology effectively.

 

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Don’t Turn Away From the Art of Life

Don’t Turn Away From the Art of Life | The Neo-Generalist | Scoop.it

Our data-driven culture bears much of the blame for the decline of the humanities in higher education.

This humanistic model is sloppy. It has no bottom line. It is not geared for maximum productivity. It will not increase your arsenal of facts or data. But it rivals with rockets when it comes to flight and the visions it enables. And it will help create denser and more generous lives, lives aware that others are not only other, but are real.

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

This humanistic model is sloppy. It has no bottom line. It is not geared for maximum productivity. It will not increase your arsenal of facts or data. But it rivals with rockets when it comes to flight and the visions it enables. And it will help create denser and more generous lives, lives aware that others are not only other, but are real.

 

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Why The 21st-Century Economy Needs More Polymaths

Why The 21st-Century Economy Needs More Polymaths | The Neo-Generalist | Scoop.it

Many of the intellectual and creative greats of the past mastered many projects. Maybe this is a challenge we all need to take on.

 

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Don’t be a jack of all trades. Become a master of some.

 

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The Power of Creative Cross Training: How Experimentation Creates Possibility

The Power of Creative Cross Training: How Experimentation Creates Possibility | The Neo-Generalist | Scoop.it

Pick up another creative habit and see your main hustle in a whole new way.

 

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

If we only do things we get paid for, we’re missing out on a huge opportunity for creative growth. Our labels don’t have to limit us to just one domain. When we’re willing to play outside our primary domain, and experiment we open up a lot of possibilities that may not have occurred to us before.

 

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Tony Vengrove's curator insight, February 24, 2016 10:51 PM

Reminds me of some wisdom I recently read via a Teresa Amabile paper titled "Entrepreneurial Creativity Through Motivational Synergy (1997)":

"Entrepreneurial creativity goes one step beyond 'ordinary' creativity; it involves action, the implementation of those novel ideas in some aspect of new venture creation. Because it requires novelty that will work int he real world of the marketplace, entrepreneurial creativity most likely requires people to be focused both on the demands and constraints of that real world, and on the passion they feel for the new idea they have conceived."

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How Art Became Irrelevant

How Art Became Irrelevant | The Neo-Generalist | Scoop.it

A basic familiarity with the ideas of the leading artists and architects is no longer part of the essential cultural equipment of an informed citizen. 

 

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Fifty years ago, educated people could be expected to identify the likes of Saul Bellow, Buckminster Fuller, and Jackson Pollock.

 

Today one is expected to know about the human genome and the debate over global warming, but nobody is thought ignorant for being unable to identify the architect of the Freedom Tower or name a single winner of the Tate Prize?

Why is that?

 

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Why Physics Needs Art to Help Picture the Universe

In this lovely piece, Nobel Prize winner Frank Wilczek writes about the fertile intersections of physics and art.

 

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

It is sometimes said that science and art are fundamentally different in their approach and their dominion, since science strives to be objective while art is inherently subjective. The science of perspective demonstrates the superficiality of such claims.

 

 

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Man of the world

Man of the world | The Neo-Generalist | Scoop.it

With the immense challenge of grasping the global consequences of climate change, Humboldt’s interdisciplinary approach is more relevant than ever. was the last great polymath in a scientific world which, by the time he died in Berlin in 1859, aged 89, was fast hardening into the narrow specialisations that typify science to this day. Yet in the English-speaking world, Humboldt is strangely little-known. That is partly because polymaths are out of fashion. 

 

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

With the immense challenge of grasping the global consequences of climate change, Humboldt’s interdisciplinary approach is more relevant than ever.

 

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Old Polymaths Never Die

Old Polymaths Never Die | The Neo-Generalist | Scoop.it

A mix of worldliness and unworldliness — familiarity with affairs of state coupled with philosophical detachment — holds the key to the continued appeal of both men. They chose to address big subjects rather than solve academic crossword puzzles. They wrote for the educated public, not just cloistered scholars. 

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Radical Wisdom for a Company, a School, a Life

What if your job didn’t control your life? Brazilian CEO Ricardo Semler practices a radical form of corporate democracy, rethinking everything from board meetings to how workers report their vacation days (they don’t have to). 

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Ricardo Semler introduces a vision that rewards the wisdom of workers, promotes work-life balance — and leads to some deep insight on what work, and life, is really all about. Bonus question: What if schools were like this too?

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Hector Cortez's curator insight, March 23, 2016 12:19 AM

Required viewing to make you think, even if you don't go a quarter as far as Semler has!

David Hain's curator insight, May 14, 2016 6:35 AM

All leaders should review Semlers work, even if they disagree with it!

Ivon Prefontaine, PhD's curator insight, May 14, 2016 10:23 AM
His book Maverick is a great read. He proposes sitting together, talking with each other, and listening to each other. The corporate rules are 21 captioned cartoons.
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The Future of the Professions

Talks at Google Event with Richard and Daniel Susskind.


In the talk the authors present the ideas in their book, The Future of the Professions: How Technology Will Transform the Work of Human Experts.


Based on the authors' in-depth research of more than ten professions, and illustrated by numerous examples from each, this is the first book to assess and question the relevance of the professions in the 21st century.


Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

This book predicts the decline of today's professions and describes the people and systems that will replace them. In an Internet society, according to Richard and Daniel Susskind, we will neither need nor want doctors, teachers, accountants, architects, the clergy, consultants, lawyers, and many others, to work as they did in the 20th century. 

The Future of the Professions explains how 'increasingly capable systems' - from telepresence to artificial intelligence - will bring fundamental change in the way that the 'practical expertise' of specialists is made available in society.


The authors challenge the 'grand bargain' - the arrangement that grants various monopolies to today's professionals. They argue that our current professions are antiquated, opaque and no longer affordable, and that the expertise of the best is enjoyed only by a few. In their place, they propose six new models for producing and distributing expertise in society. 

The book raises important practical and moral questions. In an era when machines can out-perform human beings at most tasks, what are the prospects for employment, who should own and control online expertise, and what tasks should be reserved exclusively for people?


I also recommend that you watch this related video from a lecture at the Oxford Martin School.


Read also @simonjenkins4's article in The Guardian from November 19th, 2015: From militant doctors to angry lawyers, professionals are the new union barons.


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The Book No One Read

The Book No One Read | The Neo-Generalist | Scoop.it

Stanislaw Lem was a polymath, a voracious reader who devoured not only the classic literary canon, but also a plethora of research journals, scientific periodicals, and popular books by leading researchers. His genius was in standing on the shoulders of scientific giants to distill the essence of their work, flavored with bittersweet insights and thought experiments that linked their mathematical abstractions to deep existential mysteries and the nature of the human condition. 


Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:
Lem sought to map out the plausible answers to questions that today are too often passed over in silence, perhaps because they fail to neatly fit into any TED Talk or startup business plan: Does technology control humanity, or does humanity control technology?


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How to solve the world's biggest problems

How to solve the world's biggest problems | The Neo-Generalist | Scoop.it

Interdisciplinarity has become all the rage as scientists tackle climate change and other intractable issues. But there is still strong resistance to crossing borders.


Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

The problems challenging us today, the ones really worth working on, are complex, require sophisticated equipment and intellectual tools, and just don't yield to a narrow approach.


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Martin Silcock's curator insight, October 18, 2015 2:05 PM

Article covers the challenges and benefits of interdisciplinary working in academia.  I have loved th  idea of this from reading the activities of the Santa Fe Institute. Cross connecting idea between disciplines just seems common sense.

 

There are many  implication  for marketing and business  too.

 

Marketing has been fragmenting as a discipline.  Maybe interdisciplinary thinking can help counterbalance this. What big problems ate  therr that could become the  focus for this?

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Humanist Among Machines

Humanist Among Machines | The Neo-Generalist | Scoop.it

We’re optimistic that scientific thinking can explain the world, certain that the solutions to most of our problems are a quick technological fix away.


We’ve begun to treat vexing social and political dilemmas as simple design flaws, mistakes to be rectified through a technocratic combination of data science and gadgetry. Progress is no longer a dirty word.


The most influential prophets of this creed are in Silicon Valley in California, where, to the tune of billions of dollars, the tech industry tells a Whiggish tale about the digital ascent of humanity: from our benighted times, we’ll emerge into a brighter future, a happier and more open society in which everything has been measured and engineered into a state of perfect efficiency.


Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

What are the humanities for at such moments, when we’re so sure of ourselves and our capacity to remake the world?


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The Illustrated Story of Persian Polymath Ibn Sina and How He Shaped the Course of Medicine

The Illustrated Story of Persian Polymath Ibn Sina and How He Shaped the Course of Medicine | The Neo-Generalist | Scoop.it

How a voraciously curious little boy became one of the world's greatest healers.

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

In stunning illustrations reminiscent of ancient Islamic manuscript paintings, this lyrical first-person biography traces Ibn Sina’s life from his childhood as a voracious reader to his numerous scientific discoveries to his lifelong project of advancing the art of healing.

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Why the Best Designers Don't Specialize in Any One Thing

Why the Best Designers Don't Specialize in Any One Thing | The Neo-Generalist | Scoop.it

The best designers for our current environment are those who can confidently navigate change by adapting; not those who cling to whatever specialty in which they were formally trained or have the most experience.


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Pink's Six Senses

Daniel Pink's theory on how right brained people will thrive in the future.


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Miklos Szilagyi's curator insight, May 17, 2015 5:11 AM

I like especially the "Symphony" part...:-)))

Curated by Kenneth Mikkelsen
Thinker ★ Speaker ★ Writer ★ Leadership Adviser ★ Learning Designer ★ Neo-Generalist

Kenneth Mikkelsen is co-founder of FutureShifts. We help visionary companies identify and tackle the big shifts in the world by cultivating the skills, mindsets, behaviors and organisational cultures needed to succeed in times of change.