NEWS RELEASE                                   JUNE 2011

Niche Knowledge Leveraging is the Key to Prosperity

The U.S. can maximize employment and GDP growth by leveraging niche knowledge.  This is the conclusion reached by the McIlvaine Company in the “World Market for Your Products“.  An example of this niche knowledge leveraging is another McIlvaine service: “Power Plant Air Quality Decisions.”

GDP growth has slowed because the individual cannot keep up with developments.  Knowledge is doubling every year or two, but our ability to absorb it stays constant.  We, therefore, turn to others to take advantage of the burgeoning knowledge.  But the problem is that the world’s knowledge now resides in millions of little niches. A handful of individuals somewhere in the world have the best insights to help make a decision. The problem is finding and utilizing them.

Google and other search engines are invaluable enablers.  The problem is that they are declassifiers when what we need is decisive classification.  Is a technology developing or mature?  Is it more expensive or competitive with existing alternatives?  These are insights which cannot be found on search engines. In fact, progress rests on decision systems which deliver the four knowledge As:  Alerts, Answers, Analysis and Advancement.  The niche expert is key to providing the “analysis.” Google and talking heads on television can provide answers, but not necessarily correct analysis.

Leveraging niche knowledge is more than just extracting information from experts.  It requires a forum for niche experts to collaborate.  Some of the biggest opportunities are lost because one expert is not communicating with another.   In one recent McIlvaine Hot Topic Hour, a whole new market for selenium removal with sorbents was discovered because air experts communicated with water experts.

Harnessing the niche expertise will result in better decisions not only at the micro level as per the above example, but on a very macro scale.  In Power Plant Air Quality Decisions it is shown that the best environmental and energy security course for the  U.S. is to immediately replace all coal-fired power plants with new ultra supercritical coal-fired power plants.  CO2 would be reduced by 30 percent and the cost of electricity would not increase.  This stimulus to the U.S. economy would be very substantial. Since this new fleet of power plants would be designed for retirement before 2050, there would be no long-term negative impact on greenhouse gas policy.

Search engines rely on computers.  Decision systems require considerable human input.  So a proliferation of decision systems would require large numbers of employees. The increase in average productivity of users will increase substantially.  This combination is the optimum route to full employment and prosperity.

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