Byron's Babbles

Learning At The Intersection

This morning as a I was going through my notes of ideas for blog posts, another I made while reading Leadership Unchained: Defy Conventional Wisdom For Breakthrough Performance by Sara Canaday jumped out at me. I already blogged once from inspiration gained from this great book in Unconventionality, but the comment she made saying, “Innovation happens at the intersection of different perspectives” made me reflect on one of my own core values of learning forward from different perspectives. Innovative ideas are not just about adding another feature or an
adjacent market. If we want to keep breaking new ground we must make it a priority to seek out the intersection of multiple fields, disciplines, and cultures. This is a place, Sara argued, we can create in our organizations, teams, and mind. All those different perspectives are far more potent than any incremental extension of what you are already working on using a single perspective. This kind of thinking will lead us to someplace completely different.

“You must go where these very changes are occurring – at all the intersections of industries, cultures, fields and disciplines.”

~Frans Johansson

I love spending time with folks in other disciplines. Most of my reading is outside of the field I do most of my work in of education. I love intersectional learning. I want to learn about things I know nothing about and work with people in fields outside of my own and that will, in turn, stretch my learning and give me new ideas. At these intersections I am outside my comfort zone – or maybe I’m in a zone where I just love to learn. I believe we must surround ourselves with diverse cultures, upbringing, backgrounds, and abilities. Someone recently called me a multipotentialite. When I looked it up, because I had no idea what that was (see, I was learning something new), I saw things like “strong artistic curiosity” and “interest spanning multiple fields.” Guilty as charged! But, I really believe this wide interest and curiosity brings value to those I serve. I love it when I am in a planning meeting with a client and they say things like, “Byron, what are things you’ve seen out there that might apply to this, or might make this better?” Solving today’s complex and wicked issues needs a community of diverse thinkers. In a world where more specialization seems to be the conventional trend, I’m glad Sara Canaday reminded us that we need to defy that conventional wisdom and form communities of diverse thinkers.


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