Unleashing Creativity Through Ambimindedness: Insights from a CTO


In a recent interview by author and innovation speaker Fredrick Haren with Chris Mawer, the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for Asia Pacific at Huawei, a fascinating concept emerged – Ambimindedness. Coined as a fusion of a "deep mind" and a "broad mind," Ambimindedness captures the essence of a professional who can seamlessly navigate the realms of both visionary thinking and technical depth. Today we will explore the significance of Ambimindedness, particularly in the role of a CTO, and how fostering this quality can unleash creativity within organizations.

The Three Types of CTOs:

According to the interview, CTOs can be broadly classified into three categories: the Engineering type, the Evangelist, and the Ambiminded. The Engineering type thrives on technical intricacies but may lack finesse in client interactions, embodying a deep-minded approach. On the other hand, the Evangelist excels at painting visionary pictures but might lack a profound understanding of the technology, representing the broad-minded perspective. The Ambiminded CTO, like Mawer himself, strikes a balance, seamlessly transitioning between deep and broad perspectives.

Spotting the Difference in a Client Meeting:

In client meetings, the distinction between these CTO types becomes evident. The deep-minded CTO inundates presentations with technical details, while the broad-minded counterpart focuses on visionary sales jargon. The Ambiminded CTO, however, stands out by presenting a cohesive, visionary narrative backed by a reservoir of technical knowledge. This ability to switch styles strategically sets Ambiminded leaders apart.

Elon Musk as an Exemplar:

Mawer points to Elon Musk as the epitome of Ambimindedness. Musk can captivate audiences with grand visions of interplanetary travel or futuristic vehicles, all while possessing an in-depth understanding of the underlying technologies. This duality allows Musk to inspire and innovate simultaneously.

Breaking Stereotypes:

The concept of deep-minded versus broad-minded transcends the traditional dichotomies of "specialist" and "generalist." A generalist has a cursory knowledge of various subjects, while a broad-minded individual envisions possibilities. Similarly, a specialist delves deep into a specific domain, whereas a deep-minded person can navigate multiple technologies proficiently.

Developing Ambimindedness:

Mawer challenges the assumption that individuals are inherently confined to one mindset. Instead, he suggests that deep-minded individuals can immerse themselves in marketing roles to broaden their perspectives, while broad-minded visionaries can invest in understanding the underlying technology. The key lies in recognizing the potential for growth and fostering a culture that encourages Ambimindedness.

The Relevance to Creativity:

Ambimindedness, with its capacity to balance visionary thinking and technical depth, is a valuable skill for fostering creativity. The ability to see the big picture while understanding the intricacies allows for innovative thinking that spans both conceptualization and implementation. By identifying and nurturing Ambiminded individuals, organizations can unlock a wealth of creative potential.


In a world that often categorizes individuals into rigid boxes of specialization, the concept of Ambimindedness offers a refreshing perspective. As exemplified by CTO Chris Mawer and visionaries like Elon Musk, the ability to seamlessly oscillate between deep and broad thinking is a powerful asset. By recognizing and cultivating Ambiminded leaders, organizations can foster creativity, driving innovation and progress in an increasingly dynamic and interconnected world.

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