As more anthropologists work in the realm of business, parallels between the design profession and the business anthropologist continue. A recent business week article dated August 29 is about the challenges that designers face has they climb the corporate ranks towards the executive suite.
As the article notes unsurprisingly, designers often don’t have the basic skills in management, leadership or finances that someone in the upper management would be expected to learn at a more traditional business program. The same can said of anthropologists entering the business world, with just as few skills in how to be truly effective within the complex culture and language of the corporate environment..
In the past I’ve had conversations with both anthropology graduate programs, and graduate design programs about just this difficulty. I have to admit, it seems difficult to achieve this well-rounded education without turning it to your program into a three-year course of study.
The question is really what you want people to know at the end of the day. Do you want them to have Interest, Aptitude or Expertise in a particular topic area? For example, generating interest in a particular topic area would seem to be more about just simply giving someone to be exposure to know that it is an area of value to them. For example, many cultural anthropologists are not trained in quantitative research methods, it is valuable to have them at least be interested in what those methods have to offer.
When thinking about aptitude, that’s the ability to actually see and start to incorporate the value of other disciplines into your own core discipline. And of course if you’re training someone for expertise then that means you’re trying to make them competent all by themselves in a particular area.
What the best route for creating a multi-disciplinary person?