T-Shaped Professionals

The emerging skills gap (see publications) means a shift in the type of young professional that will be needed to successfully lead organizations in the new economy.  I have tried to explain this shift, using normal distribution curves with the “I individual” removed and the severed funnel. Both images may work in a presentation but fail to grab one’s long term attention.  I was introduced to the concept of the “T Professional” through the writing of Judy Estrin who attributes this concept to colleagues at IDEO Design.  In one of those serendipitous moments, Jim Spohrer at IBM Labs and I connected where I learned more about T professional development and how it closely aligned to my thoughts about college students.

The following figure illustrates the T Professional as envisioned by Jim and his colleagues with a little adaptation by me.  The components of the system include: mastery of a discipline, mastery of a system, transdisciplinary knowledge used in the system, mastery of additional systems (as T grows), boundary crossing skills, and ME (knowing who I am and where I want to go).  Jim and I are working on a guide for college students on how to build your Model T.  Until that is ready we are assembling all the material we can find on T Professionals so that you can become more familiar with the term and its implications.  While the engineers are out in front on this concept – every field will require T professional development.

Tshaped Professional Image

If you have material appropriate for this site, please let me know.

These items are information provided by Jim Spohrer about the necessity of T-Shaped Professionals:

Urban Systems and Service Innovation (PowerPoint from IBM)

Transformational Engineering Education (Report by Dr. Kevin Craig)

Collaborative Innovation and Service Systems: Implications for Institutions and Disciplines

A report Nicholas Donofrio, Calline Sanchez, and Jim Spohrer that is being prepared for the book “Holistic Engineering”.

K-12 Engineering- the Missing Core Discipline

A chapter from Ioannis Miaoulis’ book focusing on engineering in school and the future.

Research-Driven Medical Education and Practice: A Case for T-Shaped Professionals

A report from Nicholas Donofrio, Jim Spohrer, and Hossein S. Zadeh promoting T-Shaped Professionals.

These are various articles below on the effectiveness on the uprising of T-Shaped professionals.  Articles also include those focusing on the skills that the professional must have and the usage of T-Shaped managers. Below are summaries of the articles. There are attachments to view the whole article.

Developing T-Shaped Professionals to Build Knowledge Business Clusters

By: David J. Skyrme

There is change necessary for the knowledge economy. This author ran a two day workshop where focus was on knowledge management. Emphasis was on the T-shaped professionals. Focus was on the success that the input of T-shaped professionals would bring to our economy.

T-Shaped Professionals, T-Shaped Skills, Hybrid Managers

By: Coevolving Innovations

Focuses on the aspects of a T-Shaped individual. There is much data on what is expected out of these individuals including information on resource clusters and academic disciplines.

Capabilities, Processes, and Performance of Knowledge Management: A Structural Approach

By: Young-Chan Lee and Sun-Kyu Lee

A study on the structural relationships on the processes and performance of knowledge management.

Knowledge Management Enablers, Processes, and Organizational Performance: An Integrative View and Empirical Examination

By: Heeseok Lee and Byounggu Choi

Knowledge is important for keeping advantage. Many companies are managing organizational knowledge. Research was done on factors such as enablers, processes, and performance. The research was broken down into seven parts, including T-shaped skills.

Succeeding Through Service Innovation

By: University of Cambridge

Through innovation we should be able to change the knowledge economy for the better. Innovation should be striven for in business, research, education, and government. Students are advised to become T-shaped professionals. There is a section solely on the development of these professionals on page 13.