Is It Important to Learn Widely as an Entrepreneur?

We were very intrigued by an article posted on by Art Markman, a professor of psychology and marketing at the University of Texas. Professor Markman argued that one core behavior of brilliant thinkers was to “learn widely”:

“The best innovators have a base of knowledge that is both broad and deep.  They start with an area of expertise that they deeply understand.  They have a lot of causal knowledge, meaning that they are good at answering the question ‘Why?’ particularly in their core area of expertise.  They understand both about the big picture in that area of work as well as the fine details of how things work.  In order to keep up with the developments in there area of expertise, they are constantly learning more by reading, attending lectures, and engaging in discussions with other experts.”

“Innovators don’t stop with their core expertise, though.  They know that the best ideas come from combining their core knowledge with insights that come from other areas.  They recognize that drawing analogies from one area to another often provides the basis for new insights.  As a result, innovators also explore new intellectual terrain regularly.”

“That means that innovators seek out the time to learn about new things.  It can be difficult to find this time, because the workplace is often busy.  Taking the time to develop new areas of competence requires prioritizing learning over other aspects of a job.” 

“If you are trying to identify the best innovators, then, you need to look for the most curious people. Who spends their time trying to learn?  Who asks the most questions?  Who is not satisfied to hear an answer, but really wants to know why that answer is correct?”

The opposing viewpoint argues, “The student of all is the master of none.” What do you think? Is it a matter of finding balance between experience and curiosity, or do believe in a very specialized approach to business? Let us know in the comments section below!

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