We all appreciate experts. But one of the pitfalls of an expert is when he or she thinks deeply about only one narrow field of specialty. Of course, we need experts and masters. After all, it doesn’t matter what your brain surgeons’ golf handicap is; you need him to be good with a scalpel.
In the marketplace, however, a breadth of experience and the ability to think collaboratively are two essential ingredients to success. Synthesizing ideas is a prerequisite for innovations that matter, strategies that work, and products that ship. The word synthesis literarily means “one answer (-thesis) together (syn-) from multiple places.”
In centuries past, it was used in reference to the mixture of ingredients to form medicines. More recently, Steve Jobs got at the heart of it when he said, “Creativity is just connecting things.” Similarly, others have thought of synthesis in terms of “combinatorial creativity.”
How does your organization leverage a broad array of experiences and experts? How can you better employ the art of synthesis in your daily work?