At STVP, we work to develop “T-shaped” individuals. Within Stanford’s School of Engineering, that means helping students with strong skill sets in a technical or engineering discipline to also develop broad entrepreneurship and innovation skills. Learning these new “top of the T” skills allows students to more easily approach problems as challenges.
The generation of novel and unique solutions to problems are easier to develop when you gain the big picture perspective that comes with entrepreneurial thinking. However, the value of an entrepreneurial mindset increases for those who work hard to attain that initial deep well of knowledge in a particular area of study.
Tom Conrad, Pandora’s chief technical officer, has worked for major organizations with different views on whether employees should be “renaissance” thinkers, or should stay tightly focused on a specific role. Entrepreneurial skills benefit employees in both types of environments, but Conrad urges individuals to find out what they are great at, and to always look for opportunities to go deep.