Want Innovative Thinking? Hire from the Humanities

In a popular recent blog for the Harvard Business Review online, Tony Golsby-Smith emphasizes the importance of hiring innovative, creative workers with backgrounds in the humanities. As Golsby-Smith writes, many business leaders have trouble finding employees who can help them solve difficult, complex, and ambiguous problems:

This is because our educational systems focus on teaching science and business students to control, predict, verify, guarantee, and test data. It doesn’t teach how to navigate “what if” questions or unknown futures. As Amos Shapira, the CEO of Cellcom, the leading cell phone provider in Israel, put it: “The knowledge I use as CEO can be acquired in two weeks…The main thing a student needs to be taught is how to study and analyze things (including) history and philosophy.”

People trained in the humanities who study Shakespeare’s poetry, or Cezanne’s paintings, say, have learned to play with big concepts, and to apply new ways of thinking to difficult problems that can’t be analyzed in conventional ways.

Read the full version of Golsby-Smith’s blog at the Harvard Business Review.

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