Re: Identify subject matter experts by information consumption? #expertise-location

Dan Ranta

Hi Sam - the first point I want to share with you on this is that I have found it's important to use words carefully.  By that I mean that the word "expert" can be a tricky one.  I like to generally refer to employees having "expertise."  In many organizations, there is a special carve out category for an expert that has to do with official sanctioning from talent management / HR competency (really a process often between senior management and HR).  At GE, for example we had a very special category of expertise called Control Title Holders or CTHs.  I always considered these folks to be "experts" and it created a nice scenario where we could create a distinction between expert and expertise.  In general, it's very healthy for a KM program to define expertise and you also want to do so without creating any animosity between colleagues.  It's far easier to get massive uptake when you talk in terms of "expertise" and it's massive uptake and participation that you will want.  In summary, the word expertise is far softer and easier to promote.  Some other brief thoughts that deserve further expansion:

- Taxonomy is important to create topics and sub-topics for folks to select expertise
- Making your taxonomy look more and more like capabilities and competencies over time is challenging but essential to take it to the next level(s)
- KM is largely about processes (flows of knowledge) and having a large body of defined expertise is key to making knowledge flows of all types more precise and personalized...get the best answers...avoid collaborative overload...and much more
- Lastly, the only way to get to a large amount of expertise defined is to trust employees to define their own expertise; count on emotional intelligence to ensure completeness and accuracy of defining expertise

There is so much more - but I hope this helps.


On Tue, Feb 23, 2021 at 8:11 AM Sam Yip <sam@...> wrote:
Hi all - I am curious to understand the process by which you would identify a subject matter expert within your organization. I am working on a computer science research on identifying experts by reference to their information consumption pattern -- essentially looking at the topics of what one would read/write, and use that as a proxy to determine if he is an expert**. For example, if someone keeps reading and writing about "5G automation" and "carrier aggregation" (from his emails, blogs, documents, presentations etc.) then he is potentially an expert on these topics. Is this a simplistic way to approach a nuanced task? Do you have other processes to determine if someone is an expert? 

Looking forward to your thoughts

**the research methodology here is to apply algorithms to retrieve information from different channels (along with who writes/reads what), and detect pre-defined topics from the body of information.

Daniel Ranta
Mobile:  603 384 3308

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