The question of specialization vs generalization has been around longer than our country has been unified. The industrial and democratic revolutions were largely influenced by the ability to break ideas into compartments and bring in skilled associates to take care of each element of the idea.
We’ve all seen it in our daily work life; maybe someone you work with specializes in a very particular style of photography. That person knows the in’s and out’s of how to break down a frame and coordinate their product for speed and results.
Maybe you’ve thought to yourself, “I wish I was able to focus on something at their level. I could do ‘x’ so much quicker if only it wasn’t for _______.”
On the flip side, you’ve likely come across a professional in your life that was so specialized; you didn’t really understand the need for them outside of a niche area.
The people who name paint colors come to mind.
With our own company, we’ve seen the idea of diversification come to the forefront of how we work. When Mittera Group created MITTERA, it allowed for us to show our true range of capabilities within one company rather than trying to manage our capabilities as separate companies under one entity.
Another example of diversification in business is Spotify trying its hand at streaming video along with their music service, and Google becoming a targeted marketing agency.
As we move forward in an evolving business environment, the idea of company value is becoming pervasive. When Facebook became a publicly traded stock, the only thing the news could talk about was the perceived value on the market versus the potential earnings of a company with “no product.”
We decided as a society that, while we loved the world of social media, we didn’t believe there was much value without diversification. Not long after the public offering, Facebook did diversify by implementing targeting ads in a new way and using data capture as a means of profitability. Many users were unhappy with how this affected their online privacy, but overall, the general consensus from the business world was that they were more secure as an investment.
How will the business world adapt to the will of the people on the topic in the future? It would seem to be the unanswerable question. While both sides have merit (specialization makes for greater efficiency while diversification allows for security), each business will need to adapt to what their end goal is.
Do we want to be the best at what we do, or can we provide a better service by meeting a larger number of needs?
– Michael Tomlinson, Project Manager at MITTERA