A polymath is a person who possesses a great amount of knowledge in several different fields. Historic polymaths are also known as the “Renaissance men,” excelling in many subjects such as mathematics, science, art, poetry and engineering. Most of the great Polymaths of the past mostly come from the Age of Enlightenment and the Renaissance eras. The most famous polymaths are both Italian, Leonardo De Vinci and Galileo Galilei.

Polymaths were important in making European societies powerhouses both technologically and culturally from the fourteenth century to the eighteenth century. Now are now in the twenty first century and there aren’t any famous polymaths.

The world still has magnificent sportsmen, scientists, writers, actors, musicians and businessmen but no one person in modern times has been able to excel in multiple fields. So, does the twenty first century economy require polymaths? What benefits can a twenty-first polymath make today?

Ben Vandgrift

Ben Vandgrift a polymathy enthusiast argues that our educators, family and society is hellbent on telling us to peruse a single career in a single area. He believes this is misleading and unhelpful as people are polymaths by nature. Vandgrift asserts that polymaths, although a small number of people have had a disproportionally large effect on our world, for the better. Therefore, society needs more polymaths.

A society with more polymaths will be able to solve problems quicker and become more advanced than those with no or less polymaths. Vandgrift reminds us that polymathy reaches for a maximum, it enables us to be curious, intelligent and dedicated to life. It doesn’t minimalize people’s way of learning or present a roadblock to those who want to learn something new. Vandgrift insists that being a polymath shouldn’t be something special as it is the natural state of human learning.

Mili Ghosh

Mili Ghosh conveys the concept of millennial polymathy, a career path for young people navigating the twenty-first century economy. According to Mili, working in one specific industry or becoming an expert in one area can become uneventful and uninspiring. In the modern economy one does not have to commit to being specialised in a single thing. Instead, with the power of the internet, it’s possible for young people to constantly learn new skills and do different jobs as a freelancer or entrepreneur. Ghosh recognises that as soon as a young person steps into university they are restricted to one specific area. The extracurricular activities at school that were at the forefront of learning, suddenly take a back seat when at university. Mili wanted to continue to “dabble” at university where she majored in Mass Communications. She began as an editor and a co-ordinator where she gained an appreciation for creating productions. Realising, that shooting wedding videos was not life fulfilling or enjoyable she became an entrepreneur taking up different types of freelancing gigs in the production world. Mili worked as a writer, director, stylist, a set designer and other roles in the video industry.

Mili and Ben have demonstrated that being a polymathy is beneficial for society. Polymaths are dedicated, smart and hardworking. They will end up being very successful people in the future of the twenty-first century.

Polymaths in Advertising

Specialists are valuable assets in most businesses. But among the finest industries, polymaths who can literally blend everywhere are of specifically remarkable value.

T-shaped people, multipotentialities, multi-hyphenates – different terms exist to describe polymaths. But in a nutshell, they are individuals with a mix of talents, people who can wear different hats and practically have a sense for everything.

The Advantages of Hiring Polymaths in Your Advertising Team

While specialists can make sure certain things are done right, polymaths function not just for a single channel or medium. Being naturally empathetic, they can put their selves in an audience or customer’s shoes. They are fluent and results-oriented and impressively flexible. They are not afraid to embark on new sets of learning or ideas and neither would they hesitate to cross between different functions when needed.

With its fluid and ever-changing nature and not to mention, the thriving competition in the advertising industry, it goes without saying that this industry is in need of more polymaths. These talented individuals tend to be suited for the kind of work needed in advertising agencies, where the idea of doing lots of things brilliantly works more than that of brilliantly doing just one thing.

The dynamics of advertising require a broad and flexible discipline so individuals who are strategic thinkers, who can become data planners, communications planners, content planners, culture planners with creativity on the side are the valuable assets for the industry.

The Advertising Industry Is In Need of More Polymaths

In the past, people who are masters of one weapon are formidable. This may still be true in some agencies, but for the advertising agencies this is already history. The advertising ecosystem essentially requires individuals who have the fluency to connect diversified disciplines. However, it does not simply end there.

Hiring workers with multiple sets of skills is simply not enough to win in the hostile battlefield of the advertising industry. The advertising agency needs to do its part as well. For the most part they need to:

  • Encourage polymath individuals to cross between functions freely.
  • The agency should welcome innovations, breaking free from the confines of traditional job descriptions so multi-skilled workers can fully apply their talents.
  • Motivate employees and promote a fun and versatile workplace.

Talented workers plus a nurturing workplace translates into a thriving industry. The results will not be as surprising at all.

Avoiding Crisis Common in the Industry

Be it an unexpected change or unpleasant surprises, motivated cross-functional workers are innovative and have enough competence to mitigate a looming crisis.

Effective Collaboration

Ideas, experiences, and talents are pooled in a team of polymaths making collaboration much easier and productive.

Alignment of Functions

A team of polymaths have the necessary breadth of experience and brilliant perspectives.

Employee Satisfaction

Workers who are given the opportunity to use their full potentials are generally more satisfied and they tend to work harder and stay longer in the company.

Optimized Results

In the challenging and demanding field of advertising, multi-skilled individuals can easily maneuver and are quick to provide solutions and deliver optimized results.