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.
Graham had his career all figured out — he was going to be a Chemical Engineer. He just never thought those ‘chemicals’ would involve hops, barley and malt. Now, he’s head brewer at Parallel 49 Brewing Company, managing recipe development, brewing operations, quality control, and engineering projects.
A brewing company approached Graham while he was working at a wastewater facility. After a month of decision making, he made the switch. He appreciated the similarities. where you take dirty water, ferment out the impurities, and release it to the ocean. His engineering skills are very active in the brewery.
The brew-master works with a team that brews around the clock.Graham is ordering ingredients, coordinating production schedules, and designs recipes. His work is a mix of science and creativity and he feels lucky to have his hobby intersect with a career path that is related to engineering.
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.