Essay 21: “Flatland: Its pi-shaped inhabitants”

While academic researchers are characterized by their depth of insight in one field of study and dilettantes by their shallow breadth across many, industrial innovators often are anecdotally described as “π-shaped” in that they know a great deal about two distinct, primary disciplines and something about a great many others.

With the present essay, we will explore and develop the “know what” aspects of our simple model of innovation, the initial “know what” input to innovation and the new “know what” innovative output.  Only after laying the groundwork in the next few essays can we bring the elements together to see how they work as one, illustrating how breakthrough innovators come to know.

I encourage you to download this essay without charge directly via the University of Illinois’ digital archive by clicking here.

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