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The Magical Point


Reflecting on my group work, which we presented this week, makes me appreciate the significance of interdisciplinarity.

A hospital is a place of multidiscipline. During my employment in Nigeria in a hospital, we usually had a multidisciplinary meeting that involved our surgeons, theatre nurses, and ward nurses. I attended the meetings on several occasions. It was beautiful to see how different specialisations in the medical field were teaming up to provide a seamless service to her orthopaedic patients. I appreciated the initiative.


Within the past few weeks of resumption in Edinburgh, I have learned a new vocabulary—interdiscipline. At first, I could not identify the difference between multidisciplinarity (MDT) and interdisciplinarity (ID). During the group work, a team made up of people from different backgrounds, viz, chemistry, technology with design, political science, and visual arts, the dilemma faded. I could recall asking myself, How do we want to achieve something that is very central to the four disciplines? I could see that the difference was in the result. While MDT was parallel, ID is ‘fusive’. ID had the goal of gaining new knowledge. Interestingly, we achieved an idea through our collaborative efforts—a device (which we have not named).


A more interesting thing I learned during the group work is that, on the ideation board, no one idea is exceptional. To arrive at an impressive product, each of us thought around each person’s suggestion. While we were critical, we were also constructive with our criticisms. It was during this exercise that the magic was born. It makes me think about how some certain ‘disciplines’ that interested me lately came to be born: nanochemistry, biochemistry, biomedical informatics, etc. I see an intersection of the disciplines in each of the new knowledges.


Interdisciplinarity, therefore, has become an interesting mantra for me. I see why it is important to have different disciplines working together not only in educational activities but beyond. While I think around these random thoughts, I feel interdisciplinary studies would need to be encouraged in the academic and corporate fields. I cannot imagine how much we can achieve!


But then again, will all new ideas be birthed through interdisciplinarity?

Is multidisciplinarity bad?

…to be continued

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