Why Generalists May Soon Rule the Day
What kind of people should you hire in the years ahead? According to some, you should put a premium on jacks of all trades rather than specialists.
"We've become a society that's data rich and meaning poor," says Carter Phipps, author of the book Evolutionaries, in Forbes. "A rise in specialists in all areas--science, math, history, psychology--has left us with tremendous content, but how valuable is that knowledge without context? There are truths that can only be revealed by a generalist who can weave these ideas in the broader fabric of understanding."
Forbes writer Meghan Casserly found evidence to support Phipps's view in the work of Phillip Tetlock, a University of Pennsylvania professor. "Tetlock," she writes, "studied 248 professional forecasters over 20 years to determine whether experts or nonexperts make more accurate predictions in their areas of expertise.
"After collecting more than 80,000 forecasts, he concluded that when seeking accurate predictions, the nonexperts were the best bet. It's better, he said, to turn to those who 'know many things, draw from an eclectic array or traditions, and accept ambiguity and contradictions' than so-called experts. Relying on a single perspective, he found, was problematic, even detrimental to predicting an accurate outcome."