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Check with non-experts, not just experts

We like to put our trust in experts.  And we’d rather not deal with those who are not professionals. 

And the experts like to be trusted; to get on with their job without being interrupted or hindered. 

Similarly, when specialists ourselves we prefer to avoid interference and intrusive control.  And if we feel that we do not have the expertise, we choose not to get involved.
 
Thus, we can get into situations where we trust too much in expertise, though it is impossible for anyone to know everything; and trust too little in those that may not be specialist, but nevertheless may be highly motivated and have much to contribute.
 
The result is that we end up with products, treatments, remedies, answers that later turn out badly, to our great chagrin and feeling of betrayal. But in reality we have ourselves to blame, and our own lack of diligence, for our regrets. 
 
Likewise we overlook people who know something of vital importance, but who are not recognized as experts. We should speak to the journeyman not just to the star, to the artisan not just to the artist, to the baggage handler not just the logistics expert, the skilled employee not just the managing director, the fisherman not just the fisheries official, the employee not just the managing director, the patient not just the consultant, the commoner as well as the king.
 
We ignore the customers and the people that really do stuff, because what would they know? We design systems without speaking to users, develop architecture without considering ordinary people.
 
It’s a pattern of behaviour and, as the saying goes, if we carry on repeating what we’ve always done, we’ll get the results we’ve always had.  It’s time to gather information beyond the most obvious sources, and maybe we’ll put an end to a few tragedies and not a few fiascos.
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Metanaction.com : Ian Stokes, freelance project director


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