a collage with hands, strings and puzzle pieces representing "An expert in what" blog post

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From placemaking to placekeeping

Think of a place where you have enjoyed living, felt safe and comfortable, connected and rooted…  The chances are that it was a somewhere with

a collage with hands, strings and puzzle pieces representing "An expert in what" blog post

An expert in what?

I am often called upon to wear my expert’s hat. Whether on a design review panel, assessing innovation pitches or as an event speaker, the hat never sits well with me.

Parking the inevitable Imposter Syndrome suffered by many business founders, I often ponder what I am needed (or expected?) to be an expert in.

I have 25+ years of experience gained from working in sustainable property, but I am not a technical sustainability expert. I know enough about enough and can call on deep technical expertise within our team when I need it. Similarly, nor am I a property expert 

In a world where most of our important and urgent challenges (including our climate, ecological and housing crises) are mysteries rather than puzzles, technical expertise, subject specific knowledge, more data and greater detail will only get us so far. 

To quote Gregory Treverton. “Puzzles can be solved; they have answers. Even when you can’t find the right answer, you know it exists…

Mysteries are different…

….A mystery cannot be answered; it can only be framed, by identifying the critical factors and applying some sense of how they have interacted in the past and might interact in the future. A mystery is an attempt to define ambiguities.”

I thrive working on mysteries. Along with the wider Futureground team, I’m comfortable in professing we’re experts in helping people and organisations to articulate the future places they want, and then help them to make that happen. The years of experience I have had working in the built environment, coupled with my natural curiosity, gives me resources to draw upon; and combined with my optimism and integrity gives our clients the confidence they need to bring about change. 

Whilst that risks sounding a bit pretentious, its simplicity both grounds me and helps root where my expertise sits. I am proud to be an expert in listening, challenging, problem solving, encouraging and supporting.

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