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To compete in an innovative market, our profiles as knowledge workers has to change if compared with 10 yrs ago. We talk about T-shaped persons using the T as a metaphor of our competences:
The vertical bar on the T represents the depth of related skills and expertise in a single field, whereas the horizontal bar is the ability to collaborate across disciplines with experts in other areas and to apply knowledge in areas of expertise other than one’s own. . Wikipedia
I think this vision is not enough. Nowadays the horizontal bar need to be extended: there are so many competences that are adjacent to your business, interests that no one has time and memory enough to acquire all those skills.
Where does this extension comes from? Easy: your network! The Extended T-shaped person actively extends his competences with the competences of his network. I say actively because being part of a network is something that need the most precious resources we have today: time and attention.
“Non comprate un nuovo video game: fatene uno. Non scaricate l’ultima app: disegnatela. Non usate semplicemente il vostro telefono: programmatelo” – B.Obama
E voi? Cosa state FACENDO?
So, the long and the short of it is, you too can become a designer. I suggest you try it using these three steps:
#1 – Pick one among the challenges you face daily. It can be as simple as refining the best way to commute to work, or as complex as designing your own methods to put your baby to sleep with minimum crying and maximum speed. Just pick one.
#2 – Develop an awareness for the process you follow to tackle that challenge. In particular, notice some of the changes you’ve made recently to improve your outcomes. Be mindful about what works and what doesn’t, and how you iterate your solutions to make continuous improvements.
#3 – Now comes the hardest part. Say this to yourself: I am a designer.
Many people think of business travel as a chore. I see it as an opportunity. Not to generate new work, necessarily (though that’s nice, too), but to exercise my curiosity, think about problems in new ways, and get inspired.