The benefits of sharing knowledge and expertise
On various forums people were talking about a page that had appeared on the net called “Transforming Embedded”, and that the articles there offered useful and insightful thoughts on topics relating to embedded systems and digitalisation. When we found out that it was a Sigma company that was responsible for the content, we were curious to hear more about why they are sharing their expertise.
We decided to look for the people behind Transforming Embedded and managed to track down Amer Hadsvik and Daniel Thysell at Sigma Technology in Stockholm. We booked a meeting to ask them about the purpose of sharing their knowledge. “The primary purpose is that we want to create a platform that will give us a chance to share our knowledge and what we are passionate about as professionals,” says Amer. They've had a good response to the articles that have been published and now they are entering the next phase to expand the concept into being a platform where their employees can participate and showcase their expertise. An opportunity for them to be seen and build their own brand.
At this stage it's about spreading the word and inspiring more people to start writing articles. The typical writer or expert is an employee who is passionate about something and is very knowledgeable about that particular area. As a consultant you often come in contact with several different approaches and after a while you build a bank of experience that can be used in your day-to-day work. “This is an excellent way for our consultants to bring this experience to more people,” says Daniel. “And we have received calls from both new and existing customers who have read the articles and want us to get involved and start implementing these new thoughts and ideas throughout their organization,” continues Amer. The biggest challenge for Amer and Daniel is encouraging new writers to dare to become more “accessible” in the way they write. To dare to be a little more “populist“ and a bit less scientific; without losing the seriousness of the articles for that matter. “It is important to get people to read your article and that might mean that you need a catchy headline,” says Daniel, and admits that he found that to be very tricky himself at first.
“Something magical happens when you sit down and begin to put into words what you do well every day, what you are passionate about.”
Another advantage that they want to convey to prospective writers is that when you sit down to formulate your knowledge, package your expertise, your professional development escalates. “Something magical happens when you sit down and begin to put into words what you do well every day, what you are passionate about,” says Amer. “Then, when you see that what you have written spreads and that people appreciate what you have put into print, you hold your head just that bit higher,” Daniel adds.
In order to get a good spread of topics and also to drive a question forward, they have a “content group” that keeps a check on what might be a relevant topic. Those who write can actually choose any subject they want, as long as it has something to do with digitalisation and embedded. “We have quite generous boundaries for what you can write about,” says Daniel. Sometimes they choose an angle for an article with the purpose of introducing a topic, so they can give the readers a common picture of what they want to communicate. Daniel has overall responsibility but it is the group that determines which subjects end up in the “batch” which will later become articles.
"Our contact with customers who have read our articles has become more direct in some way. They have gained a new insight into our knowledge and expertise."
Amer and Daniel say that the response has been overwhelming. Customers, their own employees and people who might be interested in working for Sigma in the future have all participated. “It seems like we've found a suitable tone that attracts quite a broad audience, albeit within a narrow topic,” says Daniel. “Our contact with customers who have read our articles has become more direct in some way. They have gained a new insight into our knowledge and expertise,” says Amer. “Some customers have called and said straight out, ‘that subject you wrote about is exactly what we need help with’,” says Daniel proudly. Even internally, at Sigma, they have received a positive response and they have now started a webinar where employees can participate in streamed seminars where they learn more about how to share their expertise and write relevant texts. Last week's seminar had a total of ten participants and interest is growing all the time. “I think we are beginning to get across to people why it is good to sign up and participate in writing ‘insights’ on Transforming Embedded,” says Amer. Putting your expertise into words is a way of creating a name for yourself and becoming more attractive as a consultant.
Today they spread the word about Transforming Embedded on social media, primarily through LinkedIn, and even though it is a completely new initiative, they already have more than 500 people on the mailing list, who all get an email when a new article is published. “We have not deliberately gone out and marketed Transforming Embedded, but allowed it to grow organically as the amount of shared knowledge grows, in the form of articles,” says Daniel. “There's no rush, we see that there is an interest, so we just have to continue creating relevant content for our readers,” Amer adds. The name, Transforming Embedded, comes from their colleague Tomas Gidén who dreams of writing a book on how the entire industry is changing and how it's growing in all directions. The book might well materialise but, right now, Tomas is one of their main authors, one of the experts.
So, what is the benefit of sharing their knowledge? According to Amer and Daniel, the benefits are several. “Firstly, we have become more visible in the industry and people have realised that we have a leading role in changes taking place in our area,” says Amer. “And secondly, we see how our experts develop as they write,” says Daniel. “It's actually natural to share knowledge, especially if you have a special competence,” Amer continues. When we ask if they are afraid that competitors might take what they write and make it their own, they both seem pretty relaxed. “Sharing knowledge can never be wrong. There's not really much point worrying about plagiarism, it's just a waste of energy,” says Amer. “We come from a business culture where passion and the execution of ideas are so closely connected that, even if someone takes your idea or knowledge, they can't extinguish the passion that it is born out of. So the ‘copy’ will never be as good as the original,” Daniel concludes.
We round off, thank them for the chat and come away with really good vibes and a new understanding of how sharing knowledge, expertise and insights is not only good for business but also for personal development.
To read more about Transforming Embedded and take part of articles, guides, and much more, visit transformingembedded.com.