Friday, November 2, 2007

Expertise Location

Dennis D. McDonald has an interesting post on "Google OpenSocial, Collaboration and Expertise Location". The remarks on "expertise location" triggered me most.

He quotes Forrester’s Charlene Li saying:

I’m going to closely watch LinkedIn, as collaboration and expertise location applications built on top of its professional business networking social graph will make the site more relevant to me.

Further down Dennis says:
Using social networking techniques to make it easier to locate and share knowledge and expertise has long interested me as shown in this slide presentation. Actual adoption of such systems so far has been spotty. (...)

Potentially, a system that makes it easier for members of different social networks to publish details of their knowledge and expertise should be able to support applications that promote significantly expanded collaboration and problem solving. This is a major opportunity for people to engage in social and intellectual activities that could generate significant social, educational, and economic benefit.

What might such applications look like? Here are some possible functions:

  • Enable network member to decide which information about professional or personal expertise and experience will be “published” and which should remain “within the network.”
  • Support cross network searching for information about specific types of knowledge, experience, and expertise.
  • Support communications between seekers and suppliers of expertise.
  • Support financial transactions associated with the commercial sharing of expertise.
  • Support auction or bidding approaches to pricing access to certain types of professional expertise of consulting services.
  • Support feedback and rating of expertise suppliers by expertise users.
  • Allow for a variety of expertise sharing transactions ranging from one-time question-and-answer transactions to more extended collaboration or projects that require recurring communications or collaborative file creation.

Connecting people to people, locating expertise in organisations and knowledge mapping has interested me for some time now too.

I agree with this list a features. You could extend this list if you focus on companies. E.g. an expertise locater systems could support HR to analyse the expertise balance in the organisation.

The list clearly shows what e.g. LinkedIn is missing. Of course everyone puts up their expertise on their LinkedIn profile. But who says it's correct? Oh, yes, you can also get recommended. But who says I didn't pay them to do that? Etc. Helping people get insight and build their social network is good. But helping them also build their expertise network would be even better.

Anyway, we're experimenting and using an expertise locater in our organisation and it works quite well. Take a look at Guruscan,it's comparable to what we use in our company.

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