Our latest study topic Mining Interfaces is about breaking away from the predictable “silos” approach to dealing with issues and drawing on more than one discipline in a quest to unearth new opportunities and creative ideas. The possibilities are unlimited when one opens themselves up to this way of thinking; there are plenty of examples of combining the arts and science. Leonardo Da Vinci was not only famous for his artistic pursuits but also his ability to bring drawing and science together. His talent for painting iconic images such as the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper was matched by a brilliant mind for mathematics and physics.
This got me thinking about how my mind has been moulded to dismiss anything mathematical or what I regard as high-brow science in favour of literature and the arts. Don’t get me wrong I am fascinated by science and admire how academics can make sense of a bunch of numbers and equations but many times it seems to be beyond my comprehension. Returning to study as a mature age student requires me go places that maybe I haven’t been before. I already have a natural curiosity about the world and its workings, which many fellow journalists and writers possess. Lets face it, I was born a “sticky-beak”! I think my lack of expertise in maths was hindered by poor teaching from a text-book and maybe a touch of laziness.
Sometimes it is easy to overlook what we have stored up in our own brains over our lifetime. I believe the key is to find those individuals or resources that allow one to build on their existing skills and experience.
The onslaught of all information known to humankind has been accelerated by the invention of the internet and it is not realistic to expect anyone to know everything. The ability to “chunk” things down into manageable forms is more important than ever. The “Knowledge Doubling Curve” devised by Buckminster Fuller, discovered human knowledge doubled nearly every century up to 1900. Post World War 2 and it was said to be doubling every 25 years. As the present internet expands and absorbs more information, IBM claims the “internet of things” will see a doubling of knowledge every 12 hours.
In a world crying out for our attention at every moment possible, I like to think that there is always room for creative and innovative ideas and inventions to inspire us and make us better as people with hearts and minds. Our willingness to cross disciplines is part of the journey.