Lately I had a discussion about the value of particular experiences. Many people had been laid off because their particular and very specific knowledge was not needed any more.
It has been a longer while ago when I watched a video of Nathan Myhrvold - watch it yourself here (length 17:14). For me this is a very good example (if not the best) that you can apply knowledge and experience you gain in one realm onto completely different subjects to find creative new solutions or bring additional value into foreign areas.
It can an immense opportunity for a company hiring people with a broad experience on different areas - and it is a primary productivity boost if you are able to learn quickly from experience and find out different realms where it can be applied.
Another example: I talked to a doctor where I go to the gym. He has more than 20 years of experience at the intensive care unit in different hospitals. He told me that many times nurses called him being totally in panic because of emergency and he learned to take himself 60 seconds of time looking at the situation and analyzing. He said: Nobody is dying within 60 seconds. You always have at least 60 seconds for analyzing the situation doing nothing. (There might be some exceptions, e.g. when a very lot of blood is extruding around.) His experience is that doing "something" (in panic) often makes the situation becoming worse. If an injection is set, it's in and if it was the wrong action or just the dose was too high then you suddenly have to deal with two things running out equilibrium. He said, in 90 percent of the cases a slight adjustment was sufficient. Slight adjustment can be worth more than big rough action. I think this could be for example applied perfectly to IT emergencies also - as well as for a plenty of other situations too.
And while talking about knowledge being applied on other issues under different circumstances, I see that the knowledge from different other areas can help you in fitting your solutions to the rest of the world. I think, especially the wise men/women are particular good in re-utilizing knowledge.
I always tried not to get stuck looking just at my programming code, I always looked for the link to the customer real needs and kept an eye on overall efficiency and productivity. And I wish I had better listened to the other subjects in school too - even those which did not interest me at all. There are so many things you can learn from animals, from physics, from history etc - knowledge that can be useful while thinking of solutions for your daily issues. Testing knowledge and experience on different realms can boost your personal development (BTW: A boar is running faster than Bolt - maybe you should learn running from the boars ;-) ).
Keep your eyes open, learn, be creative and test on reality!
Related posts: Unwanted creativity, Speed, Knowledge is freedom, The value of experience, Prudential innovation.