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It’s been more than 6 years since someone called me a hybrid designer. When I first heard the description I thought it sounded like a medical condition, not a skill. While I’ve mixed career paths, I’ve avoided drawing attention to this due to the emphasis our culture places on specialization.

But I can’t help it, life is too interesting, specialization too narrow, and I don’t think I’m alone in thinking this. When projects call for us to hybridize our thinking the results are often amazing.

Multilayered, cross-pollinated, intersectional, hybridized thinking has led to some of the most exciting and innovative thinking on the planet.

Sometimes design is a business problem. Sometimes value-chain models and monetization are where the creativity secretly lie. And sometimes technology gives us a window into a whole new business model, and fuels creativity. This overlap and inversion of roles has been a crucial part of the best teams and projects I’ve been a part of, but this overlap has me thinking…

Should we be taking a more diagonal view of our processes and roles? What else out there crosses boundaries, cuts across the grain, and gives us a more complete story?