How do they operate, those experts

Old Operating Theatre Museum 164749Just about every day you can find commentary on the impact of social media on the world of business.  These might be mind blowing statistics about social media (from my brother, no less); or you might read 7 Questions Key to Social Networking Success from InformationWeek; or you might hear loud a "Woot!" from Luis when Gartner says that social media are starting to replace email.

But what about something that relates to the post I wrote yesterday about experts and expertise location?  Well, that kind of thing usually happens too.  It's a combination of serendipity and my brain being attuned to certain turns of phrase.  This time it was Doug Cornelius pointing to a WSJ article and the underlying MIT Sloan Management Review article, Who Knows What?, by Dorit Nevo, Izak Benbasat and Yair Wand from October 2009.

I particularly like the discussion of expert hunting as being multifaceted.  You want to find out who the experts are and their areas of expertise.  But you also want to learn how they know it and how they are at working with other people.  And this information just cannot come through in yellow pages or other directory-like system.  It takes a village:

While IT has made inroads into identifying in-house experts and making them easier to contact, few systems currently offer any clues about an expert’s trustworthiness, communication skills or willingness to help.

The infographic slices up "what we're looking for" in experts, and only about 55% of the reasons have to do with being an expert.  The rest is trustworthiness, communication skills and willingness to help.  People want good experts, but they also want to be able to interact with them with happy results.

And this is where the newer tools can come into play.  The rest of the article talks about how the new social software capabilities can be useful in the context of expertise location and transmitting these additional factors.  As I've known for a long time, even the simple fact of having a blog helps people understand more about the author.  This also suggests that familiar intermediary grows another role or another venue in becoming the person who can translate and articulate what they learn from interactions with their colleagues.

[Photo: "Old Operating Theater Museum 164749" by Bonemesh]

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