It’s not acceptable for a CEO to simply say, ‘Well, I don’t do marketing,’ says Ed Fidoe. That’s why he is leading at a groundbreaking university aimed at cultivating well-rounded leaders.
Fidoe is one of the minds behind the UK’s first new university with degree-granting powers since the 1960s—the London Interdisciplinary School (LIS).
He argues that specialising alone will fall short in a world grappling with intricate challenges like climate change and AI; instead, one must embrace interdisciplinary studies.
My Wildest Prediction is a podcast series from Euronews Business where we dare to imagine the future with business and tech visionaries. In this sixth episode, Tom Goodwin talks with Ed Fidoe, founder and CEO of The London Interdisciplinary School (LIS), about the future of education.
What multidisciplinary studies look like
In addressing complex current issues such as inequality, AI, or climate change, finding solutions requires considering multiple factors: science, technology, politics, culture, geography, sociology, etc.
However, choosing a degree to tackle them means committing to a singular approach due to the way studies are structured.
“Part of the reason that we now organised the way we do is because of the physical requirement of libraries and the need to physically organise knowledge in a way in which you can navigate it,” Fidoe says. “So if you’re going to do a degree, you’re going to learn a section of the corridor in a library”.
But that is not how the real world works, he claims.
Founded in 2017, LIS proposes a radical shift away from this traditional model, focusing on a multidisciplinary curriculum.
For instance, a first-year LIS undergraduate engages in three modules: problems, qualitative methods, and quantitative methods.
“We think that leaders as well as young people need to be able to understand the complex problems that the world faces now and these complex problems are necessarily interdisciplinary”, says Fidoe.
“You’re not just going to tackle them with a knowledge of just chemistry or just economics”, he adds.
Are the interdisciplinary students actually getting hired?
The first cohort of LIS graduates is set to emerge this summer. Fidoe says it will mark “a thrilling milestone” as it will be a first-time test to assess the employability of their interdisciplinary students.
“Some of our undergraduates are already landing jobs, and interestingly, one has secured a position at Goldman Sachs, which wasn’t exactly what I anticipated,” explains Fidoe.”I thought organizations like Goldman Sachs might say, ‘That sounds rubbish; you’re not from a top-five university, so you’re not in.'”
Fidoe anticipates a transformative shift in the job market, acknowledging the increasing value of individuals adept at approaching complex problems from diverse perspectives.
“Imagine having individuals around the cabinet table or in corporate boardrooms who comprehend not only the science and math but also the human, political, and legal aspects of the significant challenges we face,” Fidoe concludes.
Journalist • Marta Rodriguez Martinez