Saturday, July 6, 2013

Best Practice On Finding Best Practice

These are extraordinary times in the nonprofit sector. Never before have we had the opportunity to have such an incredible amount of relevant and real-time information that gives us the ability to advance our organizations by enabling strategic thinking. However, it is also a time of highly contagious misinformation.

The phrase best practice gets thrown around quite often in the many linkedin groups I participate in. While reading a blog recently about a data scientist who has thoughts on improving donor retention, I wondered what kind of an expert is this scientist. The author seemed to suggest that because this person called himself a data scientist than they were a de facto expert on the topic of donor retention. When reading his individual background I couldn't find a time in his career where he was responsible for impacting donor retention at any time. Where did this new expertise come from I wondered?

Social media has given rise to an extraordinary amount of experts. When you look up the term expert
the word experience is associated with the definition. I suppose one might feel comfortable seeing a gynecologist for open-heart surgery. But I believe, however, when it comes to our personal health we may choose to do a little research on the professional experience of the people we decide to trust our lives to.

Putting our professional lives in the hands of “experts” that have little or no experience on the topics they are providing guidance on is a significant risk for all of us. At a time when anyone can publish information to the world it is also a time for us to be incredibly good at weeding out the faux experts, whom massively outnumber real thoughtful professionals.

So I'm thinking that there is a place in the world for an expert scientist...  How many "experts" do you think read this?

Wishing you a great second half of 2013.

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