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Bricoleur/Bricolage


I am a generalist in a world of hyper-specialization. In the derisive, I’m a, Jack of All trades.

In general (no pun intended), I prefer the term, “bricoleur.” A French word that directly translates as, “tinkerer,” but has been applied in a number of fields to have a broader meaning.

From Wikipedia: The term “psychological bricolage” is used to explain the mental processes through which an individual develops novel solutions to problems by making use of previously unrelated knowledge or ideas they already possess.

You see, that’s the value of a generalist. We can take seemingly unrelated areas of knowledge and use them to find solutions that many specialists would miss. Specialization narrows the focus, while bricolage takes a broader view. I believe, creative problem solving is ill served by over specialization. Or like the man said, “If the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.”

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