Generalists and specialists

Specialist or generalist?Great graphic by Dave Gray of XPLANE, showing the difference between generalists and specialists. Click through on the image to his Flickr page to see in full resolution, or view it directly on his blog, there’s a lot of other great material there.

His key point: generalists are best at defining the problem or goal, while specialists are best at solving the problem or executing the plan.

Wisdom of the crowdI met Dave at VizThink3 in Toronto this summer, where he led us through some exercises in visual thinking; I’m more of a written word sort of person, so these exercises were good at stretching my brain a bit; I even drew a visual representation of crowdsourcing. I think that my drawing skills need a bit of work.

BPM is one of those areas where a structured type of visual thinking is used: most often, people draw a process flow to represent their business process, and that visual representation (now standardized in BPMN) has become the primary way for specifying processes for automation. Although Dave’s work focusses in a great part on visuals for marketing and training communications, process visualization is part of what they do; check out their website for the Standard & Poor’s example, where the process map looks like a subway route map.

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