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Best of the Month – The New Polymath

Best of the Month – The New Polymath

| On 15, Jun 2018

Darrell Mann

A Polymath the Greek word for Renaissance Man is one who excels in many disciplines, a lot like the #-shaped person profile we discussed in last month’s ezine. This book is one of the sparks behind that article. It has its flaws, but if you like the ‘drinking from a firehose’ kind of management text book, you’ll probably get along just fine. From Leonardo da Vinci to Benjamin Franklin, we have relied on Polymaths to innovate and find creative solutions to the problems of the day. How would these Renaissance men and women manage our current technology bounty? Which disciplines would they choose to focus on? Would they work on the architecture of next–generation green cities, or focus on nanotechnology?

As our challenges have grown exponentially we need to bring together da Vinci, Franklin, and many more. The New Polymath is an enterprise that excels in multiple technologies infotech, cleantech, healthtech, and other tech and leverages multiple talent pools to create new medicine, new energy, and new algorithms.

Author Vinnie Mirchandani shares his varied experience as a technology adviser and market watcher to explain in business language the diversity of today′s technology palette and to profile a wide range of innovations at:

  • Large multinationals such as GE and BP
  • Fast–growing, midsized companies like Cognizant and
  • The cleantech industry in China, farms in Ireland, and the back roads of Rwanda

This book categorizes eleven “building blocks” for the New Polymath to leverage in its (very brave, more than slightly contrived) R–E–N–A–I–S–S–A–N–C–E framework, including next–generation analytics (a bit dated since the 2010 publication date of the book!), cloud computing (ditto), sustainability, and social networks. The author profiles over a hundred innovators and demonstrates how they use these building blocks to solve both their individual day–to–day issues and the “Grand Challenges” the world faces.

Brimming with examples from a variety of industries, countries, and business processes, the book will inspire you to groom your own New Polymath tools, processes, and ecosystem of innovation ideas. And, as with so many management texts, if you already know some TRIZ/SI, you’ll be able to pick out the (many) flaws in Mirchandani’s thesis and turn them into some highly productive new directions. It’s all about the contradiction, y’all.