In R&D, Generalists Are More Valuable Than You Think

This is a fascinating write up and it completely echoes my point of view.

I consider myself as a generalist and not a specialist alone. Therefore, it offers me a range of skills required to interpret my specialisation effectively.

I still yearn to get into a specialised clinical practise to keep on doing what I always love the most- Neuro-Oncology. However, besides my domain expertise and the acquired skills, I’d love to implement a range of ideas in the specialised domain; I feel that it has stagnated as a whole.

The blurb follows here:

First, successful exploratory innovation is increasingly a team effort that requires both diversified researchers who specialize in scanning available and new knowledge to identify combinations with a high probability of generating impactful innovations, and domain specialists who can exploit the identified opportunities for exploratory innovation.
This balancing act requires that organizations consider the strategic mix between generalists and specialists when hiring. To achieve the balance, organizations need to devise approaches to identify not only high-ability specialists, but also high-ability generalists.
Therefore, in the short-run, organizations can evaluate researchers’ innovation portfolios with respect to both impact and spread across knowledge domains. High-ability generalists can also be identified by their wide network of high-ability specialist collaborators.

In R&D, Generalists Are More Valuable Than You Think

While the “rest of the article” speaks about how impactful having the generalist is, the organsiation does face formidable challenge in evaluating the candidate for the role. It has nothing to do with the way ideas are generated but successful execution also requires a range of skills to not step on the eggshells and egos. Therefore, it is require

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