Role for Novices in helping Experts

Innovative Minds Don’t Think Alike – New York Times

Published: December 30, 2007

IT’S a pickle of a paradox: As our knowledge and expertise increase, our creativity and ability to innovate tend to taper off. Why? Because the walls of the proverbial box in which we think are thickening along with our experience.

Points at an interesting idea, I’ve yet to get the Made to Stick book and look more deeply, but the role of the ‘transient “zero-gravity thinker”’ (an outsider) in causing experts to slow down, explain and in the process examine their knowledge and assumptions, is interesting. We have been talking about communities and how the novice moves from the edge to the center of a community as expertise is gained. That view is hierarchical, the goal is expert status and novices are not viewed as a resource to expertise. This review gives a different perspective, novices play a role that is helpful to experts, breaking them out of the myopia of their expertise. This makes the expert-novice relation within a community dialogic and mutually dependent.

It connects to ideas of ecosystem, where monocultures are less stable and productive than diverse native systems.

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