“Basis of credibility of a person who is perceived to be knowledgeable in an area or topic due to his or her study, training, or experience in the subject matter.” www.Businessdictionary.com

This topic was a popular choice at Learning Cafe and something which will generate a fair bit of discussion. Everyone thinks it is common sense but we see very few organisations have mastered it. This remains a mystery.
The need to capturing and disseminate expertise is becoming more acute. We had a very knowledgeable expert panel who shared their insights during the webinar.

The Panel 
  • Peter Davis – Senior Manager Knowledge Management at Westpac
  • Sha Reilly – Knowledge Manager at Origin Energy
  • Jig Ramji – Senior Manager  – Global HR Strategy, Macquarie Bank

It is also a discussion which is wide in scope as it can encompass knowledge management, information architecture and community development. It can come in various shapes- subject matter expert, centre of excellence, community of practice etc.

The focus of the webinar was on how can we more effectively capture or systemise the expertise in our organisation and the challenges we have faced along the way. The blog by Peter Davis on Method and madness – Disconnect between learning & knowledge, talks about one aspect of this topic. We intuitively know that capture of “know how” and passing it to others is critical to the effectiveness and the continuity of the organisation. It is however very commonplace to see no effort being made to capture some of the expertise and knowledge of an expert leaving the organisation.

We Discuss
  • Why should organisations find, share and grow internal expertise? What is the business case for it? Can you share some on the benefits you have encountered?
  • Finding, growing and sharing internal expertise makes so much sense but why are organisations not that good at it? What are the organisational barriers?
  • What the frameworks and better practices have you come across or used?
  • What would an internal expert want to share their expertise? What is it in for them?
  • Who in the organisation should be doing this? Learning or Knowledge Management or both?
  • Judy Greenslade


  1. Most organisations seem to do their “talent screening” only in the recruitment process and mostly limit themselves to screening for the specific skills required for the job at hand. Most of the cases I have seen where an individual’s “additional” skills have been utilised have usually resulted from the individual themselves putting themselves forward rather than from any proactive skills management policy on behalf of the organisation. This is unfortunate as organisations are failing to harness the full potential of their HR investments and employees often miss the opportunity for greater engagement and job satisfaction. Personally I think this results from an overdeveloped functional approach whereby employees tend to be defined by their role and subsequently the focus is purely on their functional role skills and talents: Their possible transferability with other, potentially valuable, skills sets is often overlooked.

  2. It’s terrific that we took on the topic of finding expertise in this Learning Cafe. A lot of the discussion centred on how difficult it is to share / transfer knowledge. I have been reflecting on the discussion and would like to suggest that finding and capitalising on our experts is a relatively easy ‘win in KM’. Why?
    1) Clear focus on the strategic or business knowledge domains that the organisation needs to capitalise on (2) Focus on People who carry that knowledge as around 80% of some organisations’ knowledge can be in people’s heads (3) Links into organisation wide programs especially organisation learning, succession planning, mentoring, workforce planning (4) See immediate payoffs from using expertise (eg: reduced recruitment costs, higher retention) (5) IT systems and tools can be customised (eg: expert directories, search tools) rather than generalised with low usage. So I would suggest that we start our KM efforts by finding who our experts are.

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