What Do Jigsaws and T-Shapes Have to Do with Better Problem Solving?

The future of team innovation

George J. Ziogas
4 min readJun 4, 2024
© AI Farm / Adobe Stock

“Stan, we can’t keep solving 21st-century problems with a 20th-century mindset,” I said to my colleague during a tough strategy meeting. As an HR manager with over fifteen years of experience, I’ve seen workplace challenges evolve dramatically. Our fast-paced, interconnected world today needs a fresh approach. I remember when we first faced a major tech overhaul. Our team was great but worked in silos, each person a master of their domain but lacking a broader view. It felt like trying to complete a puzzle with missing pieces.

We needed a change, and that’s when I discovered jigsaw management. The idea of each team member working on their part of a problem and then integrating their pieces was transformative. One project, where we had to integrate a new software system seamlessly, stands out. We broke down the task, assigned parts based on skills, and met regularly to combine our progress. The synergy was amazing, and the results were outstanding. It wasn’t just about solving problems but also fostering collaboration and innovation.

In today’s world, I’ve learned the value of individuals with T-shaped skills. These people are experts in one area but have a broad understanding of others, like a Swiss Army knife in the team —…

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George J. Ziogas

Vocational Education Teacher | HR Consultant | Personal Trainer | Manners will take you where money won't | ziogasjgeorge@gmail.com