Manufacturing guy-at-large.

Cross-disciplinary work is the norm

Added on by Spencer Wright.

From a very interesting article about organizing engineering teams for product development:


Universities have, since the 12th century, and certainly since von Humboldt's reforms in the 19th century, been organized around specialized areas of knowledge. Thus we find departments of chemistry, physics, mechanical engineering, history, mathematics and so on. Each of these will often have sub-groupings representing sub-specialites within each discipline...The system works very well, primarily because until very recently universities have not been called upon to do very much cross-disciplinary research. Industry has not had that luxury. Cross-disciplinary work is the norm in industry. Products are seldom based opon single disciplines or specialties. It normally requires a blending or integration of knowledge from different specialties to develop even relatively simple products.

If you ask me, modern education should follow product development's lead - and break down the divisional structures they've used for so long.