Many years ago, I was involved in starting up a professional legal training center here in Tartu. It was quite an adventure because we did not have the experience to know precisely how to build the institution.
We did have a sense of what was needed - that lawyers would better understood how what they did professionally affected the performance of the legal system in meeting stakeholder interests. But how to get lawyers to learn how to meet higher standards of performance? That was a step into the unknown.
In short, we needed expertise to better understand how and what to do for our project to be a success. We realized this, and so we went out looking for that expertise. Surprisingly, it was hard to find. We found plenty of experts. That was not the problem. But we did not find experts who had experience in solving the type of problem that we faced — using training to raise professional standards in a newly evolving legal system.
At first I thought this was odd. As the years went by and I got involved in more and more projects, I realized that it is not that unusual. You can find expertise in a large number of segmented areas — walled gardens, if you will. But you will always have trouble combining expertise and building a learning curve with experts to build institutions that solve problems.
I see this now as a platform building problem. We have the tools to build platforms that allow expert plug ins. But we haven’t built this kind of platform yet.