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Unrelated expertise exchange network

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic Sep 25, 2020
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Expertise exchange network through which research & development institutions would periodically send their top experts to help other institutions from completely unrelated fields.

There would be no conflict of interest. The fields between the two institutions should be as unrelated as for example Tesla engineers helping a cancer research lab and vice versa. Non-disclosure and related agreements would be signed.

There would be absolutely no gain for the visiting/helping team other than an opportunity to learn, have fun, meet new cool people, and gain insight into a different world. It would be like volunteering with all expenses paid. It should feel like a game.

The visiting team would be provided the necessary learning material to catch up on the host's field as best they could. They would be briefed on the problems the host is facing and be able to ask any questions for the next few days. The teams would work together for the duration of the visit. The helping team would try to come up with something that would help the host team advance in their field.

The parent institutions would be matched for exchange based on their track record and quality of past work. It would be like anonymous dating - each institution would get to accept/reject the system's suggestion without the other side knowing. When there is a match on both sides the exchange would happen.

There are several ways of going about it. The same teams could reciprocate in a different time period or the system could rotate the teams so that the now helping team would be later helped by yet another, from a different institution.

The purpose of such expertise exchange network would be:

  • Intellectual synergy; Good ideas can be made brilliant through collaboration.
  • Intellectual diversity; Different minds look at problems from different perspectives. What may be obvious to one person, can spark a revelation in another brain that is wired just a little differently.
  • Intellectual flexibility; The visiting team would take it as a challenge to try and be useful. They would learn in the process and expand their horizons.

What do you think? Would this work? What could be done to improve the idea?
Creative contributions

Idea for matching different businesses

Spook Louw
Spook Louw Apr 26, 2021
This is a great idea.

I think one way to discourage the natural, selfish human tendency to look out only for themselves would be to have businesses match according to rating.
This way, businesses will be encouraged to do a good job when helping another institution, as this would mean that they get high-quality help when it's their turn. The businesses that selflessly use their resources to help will eventually end up working only with other like-minded businesses who also buy into the system while the parasitic businesses will be weeded out.

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General comments

salemandreus3 years ago
This idea has a lot of potential! Very often cross-discipline can grant an entirely new perspective which can actually end up informing the "bigger picture" down the line, similarly to having a new person look at the way you have always done things and suggest improvements.

We see this principle enacted in real-life methodologies - the software industry's use of lean practices, which became agile methodologies, stemmed from Toyota's manufacturing practices of managing supply and demand efficiently, which then became adapted to software task estimation for managing work-in-progress and deliverables.

Aside from methodologies, an interesting example of the tech itself being repurposed across industries is how Wavefront-guided LASIK laser eye surgery uses precision technology developed for space telescopes for automatic correction against eye movements. (See: https://www.aao.org/focalpointssnippetdetail.aspx?id=0bf1084b-0f5b-4484-8b59-24194a1b78f6)

Cross-discipline skillsets can bring great benefit as well! Anecdotally, with the level of communication and problem solving required, I’ve found software developers surprisingly good at troubleshooting interpersonal problems (more often than not there was a miscommunicated expectation, similar to speccing software tasks!) and my career as a one made it easier for me to identify when people were talking past each other and to become a better mediator as a result.

This also helped improve our communications with medical professionals in getting treatment due to the types of feedback we’d learned to listen out for in confirming software communications were successful, ensuring that the right symptoms were dealt with and that the relevant parts of communication were foregrounded.

The software industry also taught me to demand very precise understanding before committing to a project, and to immediately raise any uncertainties regarding specifications and deliverables (as mistakes are expensive in the software industry the longer you wait and even small assumptions can cause failed deliverables!), and agile estimation practices have also taught me to take great care against overcommitting to deadlines, and to build in sufficient time and flexibility against potential complications, to make what I commit to very explicit and to mention early how changing requirements could affect time estimates long before the problem even arises, which has served my freelancing career incredibly well even after switching to careers completely to a writing and editing profession as clients greatly appreciate high levels of communication regarding any potential changes.

This level of precision in communication and meticulousness when it comes to details and caution when it comes to commitments has been something I've taken for granted as necessary in my industry but which I've learned from Upwork discussion forums is not an automatic skill honed in less rapid-iteration industries than software development or possessed by all freelancers!

This would be similar to the existing practise bringing in an expert for a company workshop, except the potentially multi-way skills benefit could be incredibly powerful when considering the collaborative potential of brainstorming sessions!
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni3 years ago
Found this https://www.labxchange.org/
It is limited to the field of research, but nonetheless, it is a step in the envisioned direction. I expect something like this to grow and encompass all the different fields. Just like you said, experts from one field can then visit, contribute, and learn something entirely unrelated.
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni4 years ago
Great idea! Can brainstorming.com help actualize this? Brainstorming.com can identify active and probably high scoring brainstormers. On the other hand, interested institutes can register to the platform for the exchange network. The registered groups/ labs get the list of brainstormers and can then "swipe" them left or right. When there is a match, the brainstormer and the group are connected. They can either continue their research on a public or a private session here on the platform or the brainstormer can relocate to wherever the group is.
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jnikola4 years ago
I support it and would like to add an idea of how the institutions should be matched. In the world, there is a huge but limited palette of skills one can learn (from communication and presentation skills to languages and static calculations in CAD). All of them are gradable, either with scalable systems (IELTS test for languages, certificates for sales, and marketing) or with simple YES or NO (underwater welding). Since, for example, a quality technician in Tesla has an incredible ability to focus on details, he could assist in the development of a new image analysis algorithm for histopathological samples in hospitals. Therefore, it could be useful to develop a system that summarizes the job positions and corresponding ideal skillset/characteristics needed and use it to pair institutions that could then easily cover and supplement each other.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savic4 years ago
The beauty of diversity is that we cannot predict what someone with unrelated expertise can notice/contribute to a project outside of their area of expertise. We could "speed date" the teams to maximize the diversity of expertise.
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