I have been thinking and talking to friends and associates a bit recently about the in-between.

We are very good at compartmentalisation in our world today. Most things/concepts/services/people lie in their very own special boxes. Our job descriptions pigeonhole us neatly into what we do (and not a thing more).

There exists huge opportunities for those who can thrive in the in-between. The classic role is the middleperson who acts as the go-between to facilitate some sort of value-exchange between parties. In recent times the middleperson has attracted some negative press – possibly deservedly so. Think the drive towards fairer trade goods, to stop a farmer’s earnings from being bled by an excess of middlepeople in the supply chain – all adding dubious value. Witness also the power of middlepeople in our own markets – in the form of authorised distributors – who have grown large through consolidations to now wield great powers over what goods appear on our shelves…

But I digress. The in-between I am talking about here is at a more personal level.

For example, I have skills, knowledge and experience that makes me useful in situations where I need to work in-between business managers and designers, users and programmers, designers and application developers, business managers and customers… Am I a designer? A programmer? An application/solutions architect? A business analyst? A focus group facilitator? No, not really. And yet at the same time it is all of the above. But do you think I can find a clearly defined role for me to describe myself with? Not really.

Recently I have also realised that I possess a unique cultural and lingual perspective that crosses the East and the West. I live and work in the West, with English as my primary language. I work with a Western-oriented sense of aesthetics. I know how businesses work in the West. I know how English works at its subtlest levels. At the same time, I also read/write/speak Mandarin. I get the cultural perspective of the Chinese; I have an insight into “them” at a personal level that cannot be gained simply from reading reports. I get the subtleties and nuances. Thus, another in-between beckons…

The in-between is the place rich with possibilities, where ideas flowing out of compartmentalised fields of specialisation, from what we think of as neatly boxed cultures, can truly come together and mix. It is where “ding” moments are born.

I read somewhere a while ago that the region in-between the sea and dry land is the richest of all with diverse life forms. Many of our greatest cities have sprung up in areas in-between water and land.

The in-betweens lie waiting. I hear their call…