Doug Garnett wrote a blog post titled The Complicated vs the Complex: Very Different Types of Experts.

« It has been mystifying for me how respect for experts has waned over the past decade. »

« The Type 1 Expert: Left Hemispheric StrengthIan McGilchrist suggests that the left hemisphere brain is where much of language dwells (not all) and that its strengths are categorizing, classifying, and sorting… Just like the high priced consultants from the big consultancies… These experts tend to do superb work in complicated, rule driven areas which can easily be reduced to component parts. No company could be run without them…

Read a consultant website and listen to their representative and what you hear is highly technical language presented with precision to convince you they are experts. Their entire goal is convincing you they are a Type 1 expert. »

« The Type 2 Expert: Right Hemispheric Strength… Building off McGilchrist’s ideas, the second type of expertise comes from the right hemisphere which sees the unique specifics of a situation, comprehends the connections with other issues, comprehends the gestalt present, effectively and quickly evaluates all this, and see options for action that are unusually accurate and insightful.

These experts have been there, done things, and learned from those things how to anticipate the impact of actions and apply expertise for the best impact… This expertise is far more capable of applying lessons across areas of application. This expertise embraces smart risks because it sees more fully the risk involved in NOT taking risks — and usually sees opportunity to control the risks…

When you are confronting a truly complex situations — like starting up a new company or marketing a new product — then the only experts you should consider are those of the second type. »

« The Startup Attack on Expertise… The argument we hear is that experts are too caught up in the past to see the fresh and new — and, thus, of little assistance to a startup… The history of startups (especially in Silicon Valley) is littered with those who wishfully put massive expectations on arrogantly prideful novices — only to fail in the end. I’ve met many of these companies as they struggled to pull some kind of good out of a disastrous start. »

« We Need Experts of Both Types…

  • When facing a challenge requiring innovation and to see into the future, there’s no question that the second type — those with right hemispheric strength — are the experts that deliver.
  • On the other hand, if I need someone to sort out a tricky financial and tax problem, they need (desperately) to have expertise of the first type — heavily based on the left hemisphere.
  • When I need someone to write a piece of literature that breaks through for a new product, then I need an expert with right hemispheric strength — because the left tends to stereotype too quickly and won’t “break through”.
  • When I need someone to write a technical document which is accurate and which will protect my company from lawsuits, I’m running to find an expert of the first type. »


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