Diversity is the key to learning and creativity, and overall success in pretty well all fields of work. Successful professional networks allow for easy movement of individuals, porous departmental boundaries, and cross-disciplinary cooperation. It’s all about ‘range and inefficiency’.
Learning about the advantages of breadth and delayed specialisation has changed the way I see myself and the world. The research pertains to every stage of life, from the development of children in maths, music and sports, to students fresh out of college trying to find their way, to midcareer professionals in need of a change and would-be retirees looking for a new vocation after moving on from their previous one.
The challenge we all face is how to maintain the benefits of breadth, diverse experience, interdisciplinary thinking and delayed concentration in a world that increasingly incentivises or even demands hyperspecialisation. While it is true that there are areas that require individuals with Tiger’s precocity and clarity of purpose, as complexity increases – as technology spins the world into vaster webs of interconnected systems in which each individual only sees a small part – we also need more Rogers: people who start broad and embrace diverse experiences and perspectives while they progress. People with range.