Profile in Craft: Kelly Sakaki moving from academia to industry

To tackle the wicked problems of our present and future, we need to embrace a strange, counter-intuitive irony: as organizations across all sectors continue to create and adopt technologies like artificial intelligence, employees need to stay relevant by increasing their subjective intelligence. My research on master craftsmen and how they gain mastery helps connect the dots on this new dilemma, and might be the place to seek initial solutions.

When it comes to open ended problem solving and learning to improvise with what we are given; master craftsmen have something to teach us. Having to work with a material where they cannot be sure what will happen is something they are used to. Combined with the more structured training and education offered to us today, improvisational thinking in the face of uncertainty is useful to leaders in any sector. Even in the face of countless books and articles about how important it is, most traditional business school programs and organizational training fail to address sophisticated thinking about ambiguous problems.

Image credit: Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health.

Image credit: Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health.


[from] Always taking things apart and not always able to get them back together again, Kelly Sakaki never lacked confidence to try.

Now Kelly is an engineer and post-doc fellow at the Center for Brain Health. His job focuses on developing instrumentation for scanning cells in brains. He works as a scientist, biologist, engineer—to name a few disciplines! Kelly is developing cures for autism.

There are a lot of toys to play with, but ultimately the goal is to help people. Kelly’s passion is designing instrumentation. It’s an art, and rarely works the first time. It’s a process of iteration. There’s no rule book to tell him what to do.

“I’ve found my passion. I know this is where I want to be.”

Christine Haskell’s research focuses on individuals dedicated to the craft of their professions, in pursuit of excellence, sustainability and integrity. Craftsmen and women use those principles to raise standards toward a better world. Her current work is featured in Look To Craftsmen Project. featuring the Profiles in Craft Series. You’ll find a trove of profiles of intriguing artisans and innovators spanning a wide variety of professions across the globe that illustrate her research with links to the full articles. Christine’s book The Future of Work Will Require Craftsmanship is due in late 2019. To understand more about Christine’s work, check out Our Current Problem.