Phil Edwards’ Weekly

Phil Edwards’ Weekly. 13 February 2013


What is an expert?

relax I'm an expert

Wikipedia states that an “expert”  is “someone widely recognized as a reliable source of technique or skill whose faculty for judging or deciding rightly, justly, or wisely is accorded authority and status by their peers or the public in a specific well-distinguished domain.”

It goes on to say an expert is….

…. more generally, a person with extensive knowledge or ability based on research, experience, or occupation and in a particular area of study. Experts are called in for advice on their respective subject, but they do not always agree on the particulars of a field of study. An expert can be, by virtue of credentialtrainingeducation,

professionpublication or experience, believed to have special knowledge of a subject beyond that of the average person, sufficient that others may officially (and legally) rely upon the individual’s opinion.

Historically, an expert was referred to as a sage (Sophos). The individual was usually a profound thinker distinguished for wisdom and sound judgment.

I’ve spoken at many conferences and seminars about the intranet industry and what works and what doesn’t work, based on my personal and professional experiences. Does this make me an expert? That’s not for me to judge; that’s for the audience to determine.

There are many “experts” who tout their services within the intranet/digital workplace industry, who basically expound their views of how things should be done, based on their previous dealings with a variety of companies, and the supposed lessons learnt along the way.

There are also many companies who bring together like minded people to discuss how things should be (usually for a large fee), and provide “keynote speakers” (I dislike that phrase) to share their views and experiences, and based on whatever success these individuals have had, they are then deemed to be the “experts”. The paying audience are usually looking for an answer to their problems, and see the expert as the panacea to providing it.

An alternative approach would be to use the large network of contacts we all have access to and discuss our common problems. We may work in different industries, but our intranet issues and challenges are largely the same, dependent where we are on our journeys.

In my view an expert is merely someone who has an opinion, backed up by the relevant knowledge and who has earned the respect of their peers to share it in a considered way. It maybe right or it maybe wrong, but we all have an opinion, so surely that makes us all experts?

The difference between having a knowledgeable opinion and being an expert is therefore negligible surely?


So next time you’re looking for some advice, guidance,  the answer to a problem, or just want to bounce some ideas around, discuss it with your network. Not only will they be happy to help you, they will also probably get something out of the discussion too. And then you can both become “experts”.

An Intranet is actually LEGO

Yes; you read that

I love this blog post by digitalworkplace, that has used an imaginative way to engage users to describe what the component parts of a perfect intranet should be. By using LEGO blocks.

We have all had experience of LEGO, either in our childhood, or because of our own children, so to use these familiar and wonderful learning toys to get users to explain what an intranet should mean for them, is simply inspired.

My recent personal experience of building LEGO with children over the past couple of Christmases has renewed my awe in this fabulous toy. But hats off to Ernst Decsy at UNICEF, for this approach which presumably allowed the users who got involved to release their inner child, whilst also providing some great insights.

As Ernst points out “The Intranet is not something that’s made out of stone, it’s made out of lego”

And the conclusion to all this fun? Users want;

  1. content (38.3%),
  2. social (19.7%),
  3. collaboration (17.2%),
  4. news & events (16%),
  5. activity (8.8%).

With thanks to Ernst for reproducing his content. © digitalworkplace



Twitter grows by 40%

twitter logo

So Twitter usage is growing faster than Facebook or Google +, globally according to a new study.

What are we to make of this “revelation”?

My first thoughts are “what will this mean to business social media and collaboration?”

In reality, probably very little in the short term. After all, most companies are still awaiting the arrival of an effective micro-blogging, or other social media tools internally to supplement the more traditional communications methods. Whilst more organisations have an intranet of some description, and most are still in different stages of maturity, very few have really embraced the value offered by social business, according to Nielsen; although these numbers are increasing – albeit slowly.

This doesn’t come as any surprise to me to be honest.

Whilst the intranet industry advancements are swifter than other disciplines, and can be measured in dog years, it seems to me that only the more innovative communication leaders who are willing to consider on-line discussions and accept feedback in an open and collaborative space, will help drive their organisations to be even more successful.

Who would you prefer to work for? A “secretive” company that merely “tells you things”, or a forward thinking organisation that engages with its people on a regular basis?

It’s a no brainer surely?

Social media

Some years ago – probably six, I was having dinner with friends when the conversation turned to social media – or “social meeedja” as we called it then. My dinner partners didn’t really know what it was, and to be honest neither did I. facebook-logo

As I outlined my understanding of what I thought it was, it became patently obvious that I actually knew very little about it, but I did know that Facebook was around and people had started to use it. I opened my account on 18 September 2007, but hadn’t really used it much, as not many of my friends had accounts, so it was all somewhat boring back then to be honest.

One of my fellow diners got quite agitated when I suggested that within the next couple of years, social media would be everywhere and anywhere and that most people would be involved. She stated something along the lines of  “I’m far too busy to use such nonsense and it’s not going to last.”

Skip forward a few years and I wonder is she’s now using some social media channel(s) to communicate and keep up to date with her friends? I have no idea, as she’s no longer a friend of mine, but if she was on Facebook back in 2007, she probably would still be.