Leave the Experts Alone!

Think Different

by DJ Edgerton (@wiltonbound)

Economist and author Noreena Hertz says that, “In a world of data deluge and extreme complexity, we believe that experts are more able to process information than we can – that they are able to come to better conclusions than we could come to on our own. She does not believe that this is a positive thing. “Weve become addicted to experts, she says. “Weve surrendered our power, trading off our discomfort with uncertainty for the illusion of certainty that they provide.

I happen to agree with her wholeheartedly. And I see this type of behavior going on with my colleagues and clients all the time.

Stuck for ideas? Cant reach a decision? Planning next years activities? Call in an expert.

However, “Being a rebel, Hertz says, “is about recognizing that experts assumptions and their methodologies can easily be flawed.

My opinion on this might strike you as odd, if you think of me – of us – as experts, as some do. I see it differently, though.

We dont pretend to know all of the answers to our clients problems off the tops of our heads. We dont pretend to know their products better than they do, or their customers better than they do. We dont pretend to know the future or what it will bring.

What we do is innovate. We understand both our clients and the digital technologies available well enough to be able to pair and partner them in new and better ways. Our expertise isnt in knowing more than our clients do, necessarily – its in thinking differently and bringing them those new options.

There are certainly times to go to experts, whether youre seeking a second opinion about a personal-health issue or requiring a specialized skill set at work.

But there are also times where an expert is the last thing you need. Times where what you need are not the leading opinions, but the new ones.

Sometimes you should be talking to everyday patients, nurses and doctors instead of the key opinion leaders in the field. Sometimes you should be talking to caregivers instead of reading textbooks. Sometimes you should be trying to learn what isnt being done yet and asking “why not – instead of finding out whats already being done and asking “how can we do it too.

Hertzs point is that sometimes its the dissenting point of view – the non-expert whos thinking differently – who makes all the difference in the world. Were proud to agree with that, and we suggest you give that line of thinking a try too.

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