Making Use of Tribal Knowledge in Your Customer Advisory Boards

In previous posts, we’ve talked about what kind of personality types you should be looking for in advisors. Today, we’re going to talk about what kind of knowledge you should be looking for in them, including tribal knowledge.

What is Tribal Knowledge?

In simple terms, tribal knowledge is the sum value of a person’s experiences, represented by what they’ve learned from it.

In the world of advisory boards, the best indicator of valuable tribal knowledge is if a member has served on advisory boards in the past. From those experiences, they’ll know how to work as part of a group, how to express their opinions, how to listen to other people’s opinions and how to steer a conversation.

Three Kinds of Tribal Knowledge to Consider:

1. Patient Experience

If the point of your customer advisory board has anything to do with patients, then the tribal knowledge of physicians and nurses who deal with patients every day is 100% invaluable. The leaders in the field may be researchers or professors, but the perspective of people with front-line experience will help.

2. Business Experience

Doctors, nurses, and pharmacists who work or have worked in private clinics have insights into marketing, sales, and services that will come in very handy if your advisory board’s agenda includes any of these. Even if they don’t have a direct background in the science behind what you’re discussing, their ability to think like a businessperson will most certainly shed a different kind of light on what you’re discussing.

3. Political Experience

If you can find advisors who have worked with regulatory boards and government agencies in the past, you’ll be way ahead of the game when the time comes. The benefit of having that kind of experience on your board is the red flags they’ll be able to raise so you don’t find yourself going down a fruitless path.

Encouraging the Sharing of Tribal Knowledge

If you know in advance where your advisors’ tribal knowledge lies, you can build your activities around it. For example, you can add a sharing assignment to your Longitudinal Expert Engagement Plan™ that revolves around a group of advisors leading the others. And you can use the Impetus InSite Platform™ to engage those with knowledge so others can learn from them.

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