donderdag 21 maart 2013

Building success in the future of work: T-shaped, Pi-shaped, and Comb-shaped skills

This morning we completed the five-city Tomorrow-Ready CIO event series, run by CIO magazine and sponsored by IBM.

My keynote across the five locations was on the Future of the CIO, using a Future of the CIO framework I recently created. I hope to write a number of posts in the next little while on some of the more important ideas covered in my framework and keynote.

There were a number of excellent other speakers at the events, including Tennis Australia CIO Samir Mahir, Australian Government CTO John Sheridan, Forrester VP John Brand, IDC NZ country head Ullrich Loeffler, and head of Deakin University’s School of Information Systems Dineli Mather.

In her presentation Prof Mather discussed the skills required for data analytics, in the context of a new Master of Business Analytics program the University is launching this year.

As we chatted before the event this morning we started talking about “T-shaped” skills. I think I first came across the T-shape concept – combining breadth and depth – in the well-known 2001 Harvard Business Review article Introducing T-Shaped Managers: Knowledge Management’s Next Generation. Since then I and others have often used the “T-shaped” concept to describe the skills we all require in the future: deep, world-class expertise, combined with breadth to span disciplines and understand the context for that expertise.

Dineli then mentioned the idea of “Pi-shaped” skills – a term I hadn’t come across before – in which breadth is combined with not one but two separate domains of deep expertise, creating a shape similar to the symbol for Pi. In business analytics the two domains are technology and data analysis. Now I find that others including marketers and IT architects are talking about the need for Pi-shaped skills.

This tallies with my own thoughts – and certainly personal experience – over the years. We absolutely need world-class expertise today, otherwise we will be a commodity.

There is then a balance to strike. It can be dangerous to have just one area of deep expertise, as the value of any single domain of expertise can erode rapidly with new developments. Complementary sets of deep expertise can make people extraordinary valuable, if combined with a breadth of perspective.

However if you try to be expert across too many domains, you cannot maintain your depth of expertise as much as someone who focuses in one domain. That is usually balanced by the value of having complementary domains of expertise.

My experience is of building expertise and then adding multiple new domains over time. For example, I spent many years working in financial and capital markets. Today I can hardly say I have world-class expertise in the field, however the depth of knowledge I had in the past means I still understand the fundamentals of the space, and is highly complementary to the new skills I have acquired more recently.

So there is the potential for us to develop what we might call “Comb-shaped” skills, in which we have many specific domains of expertise as well as breadth. In this case we can certainly never match the knowledge of a deep specialist in any one area.
However in an increasingly complex, interconnected and interdependent world, if we have sufficient depth in several – or even many – domains, we can often be more valuable than a specialist.

What do you think? Do you think developing “Comb-shaped” skills is a viable strategy for many people, or should most focused on “T-shaped” or “Pi-shaped” skills?

The post Building success in the future of work: T-shaped, Pi-shaped, and Comb-shaped skills appeared first on Trends in the Living Networks.

from Trends in the Living Networks

woensdag 20 maart 2013

TED: Hyeonseo Lee: My escape from North Korea - Hyeonseo Lee (2013)

As a child growing up in North Korea, Hyeonseo Lee thought her country was “the best on the planet.” It wasn't until the famine of the 90s that she began to wonder. She escaped the country at 14, to begin a life in hiding, as a refugee in China. Hers is a harrowing, personal tale of survival and hope -- and a powerful reminder of those who face constant danger, even when the border is far behind.

from TEDTalks (video)

dinsdag 19 maart 2013

TED: Elon Musk: The mind behind Tesla, SpaceX, SolarCity ... - Elon Musk (2013)

Entrepreneur Elon Musk is a man with many plans. The founder of PayPal, Tesla Motors and SpaceX sits down with TED curator Chris Anderson to share details about his visionary projects, which include a mass-marketed electric car, a solar energy leasing company and a fully reusable rocket.

from TEDTalks (video)

maandag 18 maart 2013

TED: Danny Hillis: The Internet could crash. We need a Plan B - Danny Hillis (2013)

In the 1970s and 1980s, a generous spirit suffused the internet, whose users were few and far between. But today, the net is ubiquitous, connecting billions of people, machines and essential pieces of infrastructure -- leaving us vulnerable to cyber-attack or meltdown. Internet pioneer Danny Hillis argues that the Internet wasn't designed for this kind of scale, and sounds a clarion call for us to develop a Plan B: a parallel system to fall back on should -- or when -- the Internet crashes.

from TEDTalks (video)

vrijdag 15 maart 2013

TED: Catarina Mota: Play with smart materials - Catarina Mota (2012)

Ink that conducts electricity; a window that turns from clear to opaque at the flip of a switch; a jelly that makes music. All this stuff exists, and Catarina Mota says: It's time to play with it. Mota leads us on a tour of surprising and cool new materials, and suggests that the way we'll figure out what they're good for is to experiment, tinker and have fun.

from TEDTalks (video)

donderdag 14 maart 2013

TED: Bono: The good news on poverty (Yes, there's good news) - Bono (2013)

Human beings have been campaigning against inequality and poverty for 3,000 years. But this journey is accelerating. Bono "embraces his inner nerd" and shares inspiring data that shows the end of poverty is in sight … if we can harness the momentum.

from TEDTalks (video)

Professional services will be at the heart of our economic future

Last night was the announcement of the winners of the annual BRW Client Choice Awards.

Each year Beaton Consulting compiles the opinions of large professional service clients – this year 40,000 of them – who collectively select the best professional service firms in Australia. The results are announced at a gala dinner and published in BRW magazine.

The full list of winners is here. The magazine’s lead article on the awards Client choice awards: Savvy, digital, global: the face of the new professional, provides interesting insights into the state of the professions in Australia.

I gave the guest keynote at the event, with the intent of providing inspirational yet light-hearted perspectives on the awards.

My theme was “Creating Australia’s Future”, about how professional services firms are at the heart of Australia’s (and all developed countries’) future.

The core of the message I covered was that:

* Our economic history is largely about the shift from the tangible to the intangible. Despite the mining boom the sector accounts for just 8% of the Australian economy, and the weightless economy accounts for 76% – and growing – of value-add. The figures for some other developed countries are even higher.

* We are shifting to an age of excellence, in which ever-increasing expectations are driving service levels to exceptional levels. Those who do not respond to this will not survive.

* In a connected world, if you do not have world-class expertise, you are a commodity. However if you do have world-class expertise, there are unparalleled opportunities opening up to you.

* Australia is enormously well positioned to benefit from the rise of Asia, as we are gradually becoming a true Asian nation, and have exceptionally relevant expertise to share to aid the development of the region.

* As we ourselves were inspired to a path of excellence early in our careers, we must provide an example that will inspire others to their own path of excellence.

It was a fantastic night celebrating professional excellence, well supporting the optimism for the future of professional services that was at the heart of my keynote.

The post Professional services will be at the heart of our economic future appeared first on Trends in the Living Networks.

from Trends in the Living Networks