Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Demographics and the Devil

I wonder how much specialization is driven by demographic shifts.

The number of educated, intellectually involved people is growing at a rapid rate. At the same time, the ability for people to communicate and share their knowledge is also increasing dramatically. All of this leads to a large quantitative shift in the amount of information and knowledge being generated and consumed.

Quantity being a quality all of its own, such large quantitative changes are bound to be accompanied by qualitative shift in the way that we use that information; the way that we contribute to the debate; and the way that we do our jobs.Increased specialization is an obvious consequence of this (ongoing) demographic change, but not the only one. What it means to be a specialist (or even generalist) has changed also.

I am convinced is that there is an increasing need for generalists and management professionals to be able to reason about issues at a level of fine detail that was not previously required or possible. Taking a broad-brush, 10,000 ft high approach, whilst still necessary, is no longer sufficient - we need to collectively sweat the details, because that, they say, is where the devil lies.