Assimilation by conversation

Yesterday, Aloof Schipperke expanded the relevant contexts for democratizing knowledge creation in Democratizing Architecture Creation. The transmission of Enterprise Design to clients expertise is as problematic as it is inside hallowed halls of academia. This problematic context also occurs in Instructional Design quarters where the SME's would prefer hands-on rapid development tools than struggling to convey their message to designers. Likewise patient education usually breaks down when the physician's expertise comes across as overwhelming or overly critical of the patient. My own consulting roles have discovered standoffs with prima donna architects, engineers, and even front line supervisors. In a later post, I'll propose that all delivery systems fail to deliver their expertise effectively - their business model is flawed.

Aloof made two excellent recommendations to realize solutions in these contexts:
The true value of expertise comes when it is available for conversation. We refine our own understanding when we expose our knowledge to others around us, so long as we allow the interaction to occur in both directions. As Tom mentions, we reflect on the differences as we engage with our surroundings.
I've noticed an interesting phenomena in the architectural conversations of my day-to-day work. As the conversations evolve, key architectural principles and constraints (stock in trade) tend to be co-opted by others around me. I hear the principles and constraints echoed in conversations around me. The organization internalizes the knowledge and is more likely to provide productive feedback when issues arise.

Said another way, we naturally assimilate expertise "when the network is working". If there is a conversation as Aloof suggests (and is demonstrating), we internalize the expert's concepts to join in the give and take. If there is a connection between us, we pick up the other's expertise to maintain the rapport. If there is a shared context of solution seeking, we see the other's expertise as a resource or a source of exactly what we're looking for. If there is a common container for our disparate activities, we allow that mission and purpose to frame what we're doing. If there is a commitment getting fulfilled, we co-opt the concepts in use by the others making the same commitment. If there is an authentic community breaking down walls of silence, turf or controlled involvement, we pick up on how to contribute to the egalitarian dynamics.
What these solutions imply is a change in the premise of expertise. The expert participates in a democracy rather than imposing an aristocracy. Rights are distributed into the long tail instead of getting withheld by hierarchies. Diversity is nurtured instead of getting vilified by group norms. The network works to make expertise scalable and sharable instead of controlled and centralized.

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