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Unknown unknowns: presentation and exercise

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For presenter Sha Reilly of Origin Energy, talent and expertise management came to mind immediately as one of the things that keeps CEOs awake.

She said it’s an important topic for CEOs because:

  • post-GFC growth is a priority

  • they are concerned about skills shortages especially in growth industries like mining

  • skills shortages lead to knowledge loss through poaching

  • the retirement of baby boomers is also threatens knowledge loss

  • they are concerned about the generational gap between baby boomers and new recruits and don’t think it will be resolved easily or quickly.

The first step is identifying expertise. This is very hard to do because we don’t know what expertise looks like half the time.

Sha took the group through an approach for finding experts within organisations, applying it to KM and helping people to figure out if it was an approach they could apply to their organisations.



1. People were separated into groups to experience the approach for themselves.

2. They were given half an hour to complete self-assessment questionnaires about their areas of expertise and particular topics of interest, rating themselves

3. The results were collated and translated into graphs to show what knowledge the whole group of conference attendees was working with.

4. Identified which areas were particularly strong which included KM strategy, KM leadership, communications, facilitating networks, project management, taxonomy development, content management, storytelling.

5. Identified areas that were less strong which included taxonomy, KM consulting and expertise mapping.

The discussion at the conclusion of the presentation covered possibly flaws in the method, the importance of self-assessment because often the individual is the only one who really knows all of the aspects of their skills and experience.


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