The Role of Operations in the Renaissance 2.0
Unlike the great polymaths of the Renaissance, our current era requires multidisciplinary teams

A characteristic of the most outstanding leaders of the Renaissance, such as Leonardo Da Vinci (1452-1519), was their polymathy (they mastered a range of arts and sciences, from developing works of art to mechanisms that we still enjoy in this day and age). We are a long way away from the renaissance period: nowadays, a significant number of scientists specialize in a particular area of knowledge.

However, the needs of our complex society require comprehensive solutions that combine diverse areas of human knowledge. Scientific and technical knowledge is necessary, but not sufficient, since there is a huge distance between mastering techniques and creating, developing and implementing solutions that will improve the lives of human beings.

Knowledge abounds in our era and now we need to generate and put into practice efficient, sustainable solutions. The individuals and/or organizations that lead or want to lead this change must have the business know-how to identify value creation opportunities, in other words, identify social or business needs that represent focal points for improvement.

The solutions that respond to these opportunities are usually drawn from hard knowledge: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Such knowledge will enable us to generate technical responses, including the solutions of operational research models.

But, leadership skills (commonly called soft skills) are required to communicate complex technical solutions to audiences with no scientific background, so that users will  ultimately not only understand, but also be more than convinced of the benefits, the invested efforts, and the technique involved in the improvement they are experiencing.
Each comprehensive solution must have a clear identity (portrayed in a brand) so that the end user can identify it unambiguously and relate to the values this solution represents. Without this brand, innovations could flounder in a complex society that is oversaturated with information.

In this regard, it seems impossible that a single individual could identify in his or her environment a value creation opportunity, master all the technical areas involved, generate a sustainable solution, and also be capable of creating a distinctive brand so that end users can relate to and accept the solution, which will become a reality.

The good news is that, unlike the great individual icons of the first Renaissance (such as Da Vinci), our Renaissance 2.0 requires multidisciplinary teams led by individuals who have: a comprehensive vision of their community; a solid ethical framework; knowledge of diverse areas of a depth that allows them to coordinate multidisciplinary team efforts; and, in this way, develop solutions that will generate sustainable value. In addition, leadership skills are indispensable to negotiate the obstacles to a successful implementation in which users will embrace the brand created.

You can read the complete article in Voraz Boletín – Sociedad Mexicana de Investigación en Operaciones.