Going deep vs. Going wide

I spent most of today learning more about the various schools of thought around design thinking, reading Tim Brown's Design Thinking blog, writing up a short case study about designing for a circular economy, and thinking more about the intersection between data science and human-centred design. In a perfect world I would be paid to do this all day, every day.

One blogpost; The Career Choice Nobody Tells You About,  really resonated with me. It's short and contains a simple message, but it was a nice reminder for why I wanted to "leave" astronomy research and pursue new opportunities.

Going deep requires incredible focus, lifelong commitment to a single cause, a willingness to be patient towards achieving success, and the confidence to follow a path others may not understand or value...

Going wide, on the other hand, is about making connections between what you already know and what you’re curious about discovering. It requires systems thinking in order for the whole to be greater than the sum of the parts. It means developing the skills to collaborate for the purpose of learning. It’s about seeing the creative possibilities in breaking down boundaries and describing the world, your organization, the problem in new ways.
— Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO

Data science offers researchers in academia an opportunity to go wide, to explore problems across all sciences, the arts, across business and technology, and even the not-for-profit social sector. While many researchers leave academia because of negative experiences or job insecurity, I suspect that most (like myself) leave because there are just so many more equally exciting things in the world to discover (or make, or teach) and a whole new community of amazing people to learn from.

Personally, committing a lifetime to academic research wasn't enough for me. Although my research was exciting and I had the opportunity to work at world-leading academic institutions, with incredibly clever and talented and researchers, there was always something missing. Perhaps it was a fear of missing out on all the other wonderful things people were doing?

Fortunately I've managed to have found a way to find aspects of astrophysics research where i can make significant contributions, and in the meantime work with data and technology within a completely different industry. There is a stigma around leaving academia so choosing how and why you leave matters.






How to survive and thrive as an engineering leader

Photos from last Thursday's Girl Geek Dinners meetup at SEEK. 

Speaker Bios

Michelle Gleeson – SEEK

Michelle has been a software developer for a few decades and is passionate about growing people and teams, building strong cultures, coaching better technical practices and driving continuous improvement. She enjoys passing on her knowledge and experience to the next generation of developers. A passionate advocate for diversity and inclusion, she blogs and presents on all these things at tech events in and around Melbourne.

Isabel Nyo – Atlassian

Isabel is an accomplished woman in technology with a passion for knowledge sharing and continuous learning. She has been sharing her thoughts via her written and spoken words. She was born and grew up in Burma (Myanmar) and now calls Sydney, Australia home. She is currently an engineering manager in Sydney, Australia, leading high performing teams and having fun while doing so. She has worked for a few top tier technology and media organisations throughout her career. She is passionate about leadership, career development, and women in technology.



Responsible AI

The development of machine learning and artificial intelligence is already having a profound impact on people's lives. With great power comes great responsibility; How do we ensure that the products and services created are fair and inclusive? How do we ensure privacy and security? How do we share tools and resources? How do we share knowledge?

There is a growing movement towards ethical tech and responsible AI practises, with many companies and organisations becoming more transparent about how their products and services are built. I'll be writing more about this at a later date, but in the meantime here are just few;


The Original Lifehackers

For your Wednesday morning coffee...

Liz Jackson, and founder of The Disabled List, talks about the misconceptions around disability and shares practical tips on how to design with disability, not for disability. Brought to you by Creative Mornings NYC

11% of our college population is disabled and disability is an emerging trillion dollar market the size of China, and yet the [traditional institutional] model of disability still lives on
— Liz Jackson

Liz also WITH, a program that places New York City’s creative disabled talent into the city’s top design studios for a 3-month Fellowship. The goal is to create new pathways into design for disabled people.

... disabled people are the original live hackers. We developed an intuitive creativity because we have been forced to navigate a world that isn’t not built for our bodies
— Liz Jackson