2016/03/21 17:00 Phil Gardner, “Closing Comments”, T-Summit 2016

#tsummit2016 Closing comments by Phil Gardner @Philceri, Michigan State U.

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T-Summit 2016, Transformational Approaches to Creating T-Shaped Professionals, National Academy of Sciences Building, March 21-22, 2016

Introduction by Jim Spohrer, IBM


Issues in writing monograph

Little consensus on the definition of the T — still after 10 to 15 years

  • Deep in a discipline, don’t know:  deep in learning, not just memorizing; have to create new knowledge
  • Can’t have deep knowledge without deep learning


  • They really like the systems piece
  • But if show them the IBM systems — they want to know how organizations work as a system; then how to solve the problem in a system
  • IBM goes deeper, with service systems
  • Getting people to think in multiple layers of systems


  • Garbage dump for people that don’t know where to put things

Without definitions, precede classification, to analysis, to creative solutions

  • Have jumped, problem with commonality

30 years talking about the skills gap, and the T is much deeper than that:  we’re looking for a whole different type of person, not just skills

Did that to put a man on the moon; and the 1950s in manager

It’s the creative adaptive innovator

  • People have to adapt constantly

Dan Mandel, MIT robotics, disruptions in the job market:  constant technological disruption

  • Change the technology, change the task, change the nature of the people on the task, change the person
  • Mindset, personal skills

Some people say that we’ve always had T

However it’s unique, in three ways:

  • Systems
  • Boundary-spanning skills
  • The me:  they have to understand themselves, putting everything on the line where sharing with people not like you.

Stenson will speak about that:  the me is awareness that the way you are, in the way of others

  • Awareness in acting with others
  • Confidence
  • Rise to challenge
  • Courage to fail
  • Purpose:  are you curious, on your own
  • Emotional maturity
  • Act with passions

Need a totally new mindset

Students get it:  they get to share their vulnerabilities

  • Being to able to understand themselves

Herbert Simon, in last paper before his death:  AI and entrepreneurship

  • Know what you know
  • Know who you know
  • Know yourself
  • If you can’t know about those, you’re really going to struggle