Musings on designing experiences & (re)engineering complexity

Nov 2020

Mis-Definition of Polymaths

While some others are waking slowly from their feasting over the past day(s), am back on the pedals so to speak. Back at plugging away to a few standing items. One of those is a lexicon. From a recent reading about polymaths, funny how so many of the more academic ones, were granted a claim to fame by creating lexicons and encyclopedias. Almost can see the correlation between why they would be thought of as masters of several domains because of an ability to speak between them; but, there’s probably some misapplication of the lens in our future-viewing of the ability to connect threads.

In another activity, am working on creating lenses for viewing transformation across individual, team, and org contexts. Much like the optometrist who layers lenses in front of the eye and asks, “is this clearer? How about now? And, how about now?” Am aiming to create the same kind of translation layer for the items Avanceé is asked to re-engineer. Like the polymath creating an encyclopedia or lexicon, this seems simply a translation task, not the actual genius itself. However, it would likely be regarded as such — because many people have trouble seeing beyond their own blossoms.

Perhaps, this is the key perspective to take away: polymaths (geniuses, Renaissance persons, etc.) might actually be defined incorrectly. This is not to say there is no value to the connectedness and remixing they offer. There is. However, they aren’t the actual genius. The actual genius is in who/what comes after that connection is made. Or, to quote oneself:

The best roads aren’t paved until someone follows the path you cut and puts down gravel

The genius of creating a new road cannot be realized until someone else travels it, and potentially builds on top of it something of even greater value than the connection itself. Highways were just a way to transport arms quickly until someone realized the value of “tourism stops.” Platforming is the way to value adding, not simply realizing the platform which is to be made.