Opening up expert knowledge for social change


How can we make traditionally expensive expert knowledge available for free for social causes and communities in need?

Sharing professional advice freely & openly

I make my living as a consultant, and as an organizer of conferences. Therefore I’m well aware of the prices that both organizations and individuals pay for advice, learning, and access to knowledge.

Yet, not all communities/organizations/individuals can afford to hire experts if they need input of some sort or another. Or worse, they have to resort to fake experts who seem to work more cheaply, but also deliver worse or the wrong kind of advice.

A network of socially-minded experts

Hence, I’m wondering if we can create a network of socially-minded experts – top of the field – that would volunteer their advice. This could be done directly, through mechanisms like “office hours”. Or it could be knowledge abstracted from client work and openly shared in a slightly more abstract way.

Many of us in the field do this one way or another, through social media channels like our blogs and Twitter. But finding the right kind of information isn’t trivial, particularly if you don’t quite know yet which questions to ask. (Posing the right question and desired outcome is often the core task for consulting work in my field.)

The same goes for conferences: Access can be hard, or prohibitively expensive. Here, often free recordings can help. In other cases, travel grants might do the trick.

A central resource for knowledge and access

I imaging we could build a network of experts as described above and an online resource that helps find the most relevant content.

Many open questions here, as this could be turned one way or another. But I’m convinced that by just allowing for easier access – by lowering the barrier to entry to the right people – we can build long lasting relationships of mutual support, allow for easier access to knowledge, and help support social causes and communities in need.

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