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Cornell alum Jim Ware ’65 visited Ithaca last summer for his 50th class reunion. A former Harvard Business School professor and expert on the changing nature of work, Ware was struck by how effectively Cornell helps students and faculty think across disciplinary boundaries. 

ACSF: Creating Opportunities

January 6, 2016

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Cornell alum Jim Ware ’65 visited Ithaca last summer for his 50th class reunion. A former Harvard Business School professor and expert on the changing nature of work, Ware was struck by how effectively Cornell helps students and faculty think across disciplinary boundaries. More to the point, Ware says, these boundaries are the very place where innovators need to gather—where the conversations happen and the innovations occur.

Jim WareJim Ware '65 is the founder of The Future of Work. . .unlimited

On his website, The Future of Work . . . Unlimited, Ware discusses how “deliberate diversity” can help build the future, taking the Atkinson Center as a successful example:

In a sense the Atkinson Center is like an incubator or an angel investor; it creates opportunities for collaboration and then nurtures the resulting ideas until they can become self-sustaining. The Atkinson Center is a perfect example of what sociologist Donald Campbell called the “fish-scale” model . . . . The core idea . . . is that innovations occur most frequently on the fringes of a discipline, at the boundaries between bodies of knowledge (the edges of those overlapping fish scales), and through conversations that connect people with widely differing backgrounds and experiences.

Creating these cross-disciplinary opportunities is a forward-looking way to launch breakthroughs—and an important way of revitalizing Ezra Cornell’s vision of “any person . . . any study.”

Read more in The Future of Work.