E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

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Expertise Location without Technology – The Power of Storytelling (Part Deux)

A couple of days back you would remember how I actually created a follow up weblog post around the subject of expertise location to the superb article that Jack Vinson created over at Expertise Locators on the Brain (Worth while reading material for sure). And today I thought I would also point you to another fantastic, must-read, follow up post that Shawn Callahan put tog ether not long ago, where he actually tried to approach expertise location from a different point of view: "[…] what if we put effort in helping individuals find relevant expertise when they need it and without the use of technology?" and he actually succeeds at it, big time! The weblog post is titled Expertise Location without Technology and you can read it over here. And it basically comes to talk about a new and refreshing way of treating expertise location by not focusing on the technology itself but just on a way to find the experts the way we have always been doing: through our social interactions. Because that is what we all do. Search for those experts that are the closest to us.

Fascinating thoughts, indeed. Something that perhaps not many people may have thought about but which certainly comes to indicate how social networks are becoming increasingly important in helping finding those experts. Something that although we may not have been aware of it all along it has certainly been there for hundreds of years. Shawn talks about "The next expertise locating skill I’d help people develop is what I call pre-emptive expertise location" by which "to be good at finding expertise you need to be connected before you need the expertise." Exactly! And without the technology what would be the best way to connect with other people and share that expertise? Any suggestions?

Yes, certainly through stories, i.e. the power of storytelling, something that I have already mentioned over here some time ago a couple of times. Through storytelling seekers have got the opportunity to get to know experts who in their turn also connect with other experts while they all continue to nurture those relationships by interacting in those social networks. And all that without potentially making use of expertise location technology, just the traditional methods of knowledge sharing and collaborating through talking with other people. And that is perhaps one of the reasons why in this distributed world we are in today weblogs may well be one of the most interesting options out there to help people tell stories, their stories. Because after all that is what weblogging is all about. Get your story out there and get yourself known to others. Make that connection,  nurture it through your own voice. Your weblog. As long as you do not have the opportunity to nurture them in real life, that is.

Another interesting aspect from Shawn’s weblog post is a short description of eight different aspects of expertise, taken from Gary Klein, that is also some interesting reading and which helps clarify how experts are different from the seekers. I am not going to reproduce them over here, you can go there and read some more about them over at Shawn’s weblog post but, as a teaser, I am going to just briefly name them over here:

  1. Patterns
  2. Anomalies
  3. The way things work
  4. Opportunities and improvisations
  5. Past and future
  6. Fine discriminations
  7. Self aware
  8. Decision makers

As you will be able to see there are actually a whole lot more aspects to take into account than just the technology when talking about expertise location and perhaps one key fundamental aspect to make it all work may be just related to something that I have weblogged about earlier on today: the power of communities and their stories.

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