Is your knowledge deep, wide, or both?
There's an interesting discussion on breadth versus depth of knowledge going on over at Successful Blog: 7 Steps to being recognized as an expert. The original post focuses on depth of knowledge—being recognized as an expert by knowing a lot about a topic:
- Be the expert you are, not the expert someone else is.
- Be an expert in ONE thing.
- Write expert content.
- Be an expert at keeping track of your niche.
- Be an expert at specialized searches.
- Be an expert at getting the word out.
- Be an expert at going deeper into your niche.
Dan'l countered with the need for interdisciplinary breadth:
We are coming into a time where the experts who will be successful in navigating the merging of technology, business, finance, markets, media are those experts in several of the realms at once. For only those persons will be able to see and trend the impacts and effects of the increasing collapse of specialties into combined forms.
Put them together, and you arrive at the idea of the T-shaped person, who has depth of expertise within a specialty combined with broad knowledge across many subject areas. Think Renaissance Man for the 21st century, updated for buzzword compliance. See the second point of Ideo's five-point model for strategizing by design. I like this model because it explicitly values all of the other things that make us real people, in addition to the specific expertise embodied in titles and labels.
Plus, it's easy to draw.