No doubt people ask for your advice all the time. While doctors, lawyers and accountants have always had a readily available market for their advice, other business professional have only been able to market their services to one client at a time: their employer.
In the last 10 years, however, that all has changed. An industry has grown-up around the idea of connecting business professionals with organizations looking for market insight, answers to technical issues, or professional advice. Known as the Expert Networks, these organizations provide opportunities for business professional to conduct short duration consultations called "micro-consultations." Most interactions last between 30 to 60 minutes. They are generally conducted over the phone or via Skype, and are designed to give clients advice on an a la carte basis, thereby reducing the expense and time involved in traditional consultations.
With dozens of networks specializing in different industries, occupations and geographies, there are more than 500,000 individual experts available to any company at any time. Research that may have taken months previously, can now be accomplished in a matter of days.
and Malaria (GBC). GBC was putting together a marketing strategy for a Ukrainian Aids outreach program. Within 3 days, Gerson Lehrman Group assigned a team of project specialists, surveyed fifty Ukrainanian private sector professionals and created a custom written report.
Closer to home, the expert network, Aristotle Circle, assists parents who are interested in placing their children in private schools and Ivy League Colleges. Their network includes developmental psychologists, former deans and admissions professionals that help with all aspects of the admissions process. For $450 an hour and $500 for a prep book, a parent can give their child a significant advantage in getting into the school of their choice.
In the financial industry, expert networks are the fastest growing
sector of investment research, with aggregate revenues of over $300 million. Institutional and private investors use the networks to gain insight into a particular industry, market or product before making an investment. In many cases, this allows investors to access diverse markets without the normal lead time involved in traditional consulting.
Expert Networks are also making inroads into the health sciences and technology industries. One example is the network, YourEncore. Focusing on connecting Fortune 500 companies like Boeing, Eli Lilly and Proctor and Gamble with retired scientists and engineers, the
networks helps clients with everything from information on FDA protocols to insight into processes at pharmaceutical companies.
While the growth in demand for Experts has primarily been in finance, technology and health sciences, a new wave of thinking has centered upon the idea that everyone has some worthwhile information to share. Maven Research, an Expert Network generalist, has embraced this ideal with its tagline, “Everyone Knows Something.”
Given the ubiquity of internet access around the globe, it is easy to envision a future where experts can provide informaton via smart phone on everything from cocoa crop yields on a specific farm in Ghana to culturally appropriate customer service for a new start-up in Yemen. While there may not be a market for that informaton today, the continued development of smaller and smaller knowledge niches may make it a reality in the future.
With the vast number of problems facing the world, Expert Networks are sure to play an important role in the 21st Century and beyond.
Now is your chance to become part of the next generation of human development. Take advantage of this website to learn more about the Expert Networks and find out how to apply for opportunities in your field with our Step by Step Guide. Sign-up for our newsletter and elect to receive referrals for “micro-consulting” engagements based on your background and experience.
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