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Thoughts on the New Polymath Enterprise

 You may know of Vinnie Mirchandani though his technology-related blog site, New Florence. New Renaissance or his Deal Architect blogs. Vinnie graciously shared two advance chapters of his new book The New Polymath with me, and  I already can’t wait to read the published book in its entirety. If you are interested in reading about what creative minds are doing with both emerging technologies and more familiar ones to solve today’s complex business challenges, you should plan on reading it, too.

In the first chapter, Vinnie lays the groundwork with his explanation and examples of his term the New Polymath. I have to admit that I was more familiar with the concept when it is referred to as the Renaissance Man / Woman.  A Polymath, Greek for Renaissance Man, is someone who excels in many disciplines. The New Polymath is an enterprise very comfortable leveraging a wide range of technologies for product and other innovation.  The book showcases 11 “building blocks” using the RENAISSANCE acronym – next-generation interfaces, cloud computing, sustainability for the New Polymath to leverage. These chapters reflect interviews and profiles of over a hundred innovators, their products and their projects.

Vinnie sees the new polymaths not only as persons but also as enterprises. While he suggests that we may be seeing polymaths as a dying breed of individual (although I would debate that point, given the increasing interest in liberal arts education), the “New Polymath enterprise (is one) where many ‘monomaths’ and a variety of technical disciplines and technologies create an Apple or a Google.”

A later chapter covers topics near and dear to the hearts of SCN members: networks, communities, crowds and collaboration. I especially enjoyed his observations on social CRM. I’ll confess that I am a regular Facebook user, and Vinnie’s observations about social applications were consistent with my experiences on Facebook apps.  I can definitely see the social customer influencing the outlooks of his or her network of friends towards businesses, and I concur that the wise enterprise engages with that social customer as a valued resource. The communities of SDN, BPX, and BOC are also mentioned in that chapter, including an interview with my friend and colleague, SAP Mentor and long-time fellow ASUG volunteer Jim Spath.

I don’t want to give it all away, so I’ll just say that I think this book will be interesting and informative to members of the SAP communities, so watch for a publication announcement. It is being published by John Wiley and expected to be available in about 90 days.

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