Master Expert is now published, and here's who inspired us
Summary: Achieve peak performance, influence and seniority in a technical role
Written by Grant Heinrich 13 Jul 2021

Master Expert is now published, and we have some Early Adopters to thank.

Honouring the Trailblazers.

Everyone read this post will be familiar with the concept of Early Adopters. They are that group of people who went they see a new, new thing embrace it quickly. Every entrepreneur seeks early adopters to give their product momentum. And early adopters get a lot of credit for their vision.

But there is a more important group that often get overlooked, and deserve far more credit – First Adopters. These are the people who take a risk and test an idea (something that isn’t yet a product or service).

Dominic Johnson and I have had the very great privilege of being supported by a group of really visionary executives in our client organisations. These are the trailblazers who have helped us shape and hone our ideas and delivery options for expertship – programs designed to help experts reach their full potential, escape from their technical bubble, and break through the technical ceiling that has been holding them back.

These First Adopters are actually the people that made the book we publish on Tuesday possible – Master Expert. (You can check out the book at [WS701]].

Consider – these people had to promote and find funding for a never heard of development program from a small and relatively unknown learning provider, and persuade typically cynical subject matter experts to attend the program (even though it wasn’t building their technical skills).

Three risks to their reputations all in one go.

Dominic & I may have written Master Expert, but much of the content has been developed by our working with well over a thousand technical subject matter experts sent on early programs by these visionary trailblazers.

The 50 chapters have also been developed by working closely with these trailblazers as they helped us overcome early stumbles, and added such great value with ideas and comments along the way.

So, if I say write your name, step forward and take a bow, and please accept our everlasting thanks for believing.

Very First Adopter: Mark Smith, the CIO Asia Pacific at Aon. Expertship was fundamentally Mark’s idea. We did the the design. The first ever program (not called Expertship in those days, but K-Leader, with the K standing for knowledge), was held in Malaysia.

Further call outs to organisational development mega guru Kim Johnson, who has taken the initial concept and taken it to another talent management level, and Mark’s lieutenants who were very early supporters (Mark Jarred, Samantha Cairns, Scott Prosser, Hugh Middleton, Peter Broid) and supplier of our first legal participants, Michael Green.

First Adopter: Catherine Proud, Head of People and Culture, Cenitex, Victorian State Government. Our second client! Saw the potential in both our programs but more importantly her technical people. An awesome champion.

First Adopter: David Fryda, then CIO at Aristocrat. Introduced expertship to Aristocrat, and was responsible for our first fly-in international students from the USA, and was thus responsible for our running our first expertship program in the USA in New York. Call out to alumni James King for making that happen.

First Adopters: Meryl Dooley and Sharon Broadly at Tabcorp, very early supporters of the expertship programs (that were in those days called K-Leader). Their early support provided great encouragement just when we needed it. Call out to Katelijne Pee for brilliant early advocacy of the concept while working with us.

First Adopter: Lindsay Jenkin, then Head of People and Culture at the Reserve Bank of New Zealand. Saw the opportunity to really open perspectives among some of the Bank’s finest financial technicans. Is there a more passionate advocate for professional development than Leahna Hardie who has continued and built on Lindsay’s initiative.

First Adopter: Annabelle Larkham, international organisational development guru. Introduced the concept of expertship into GenesisCare globally. And provided brilliant inputs and feedback along the way, way before then. Major call out to Rachael Grant, Suzanne Davies, Elena Gertos and Ellie Harrison who became super supporters and helped build our offering into the UK.

First Adopter: Dimity Smith, then Chief People Officer at Adbri, now at Weir. Our first manufacturing client, generated our first Adelaide program, also supported by engineering head at SA PowerNetworks Peter Barnard. I remember learning a great deal running that program about experts in the field.

First Adopter: Karen Atfield, Organisational Strategy Manager at WT Partnership. Helped us by having the vision to see a wider variety of roles that were by definition ‘expert’, including quantity surveyors.

First Adopter: Mal Reason at the ABC, first an observor/participant, then an active promoter.

Finally, two special call outs: to Darin Fox, who as organisational development guru at Sydney Water socialised and advocated for expertship in that organisation (supported by Karen Sawyer), and liked the concept so much he joined our company. He is now Expertunity’s Director of Research on all things expertship.

And to Grant Heinrich, who over (quite a few) beers on one of my visits to London said I might actually finally be on to something, and liked the idea so much moved with his partner from London to Sydney to support our launch of this initiative (and book) 18 months ago. Buy-in from top professionals like these helped Dominic and I re-energise and finish the Master Expert project.

There are many more who have helps us a great deal both then and since (thank you, and forgive me for missing you off this list).

The contribution of very early customers is something that as a product creator, you never forget. These clients can see beyond the normal and typical. They are as much part of the innovation cycle as the people who dream up the ideas in the first place, particularly as those above approached the whole thing in the spirit of partnership, providing valuable feedback.

I hope our First Adopters all find the book and broader initiative an outcome that is worthy of your early trust in us.

Cover of Master Expert

Download Master Expert chapter one: the age of experts