The Epistemist

…on the knowledge journey

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About me

About me

My business profile:

My passion is in  growing and developing people, and mentoring them to deliver world-class support. My definition of world-class support is helping the customers achieve full benefit of using our product, so they can be more productive and successful.

I am a seasoned support Executive with leadership experience ranging from optimizing and delivering frontline support to building backline and sustaining support operations in consumer, SMB, and enterprise space.  Currently, I am leading company-wide Knowledge Management strategic initiative at Intuit, combining internal innovations, industry best practices, academic research, and business requirements, to deliver better answers faster.  Prior to this, I have been responsible for architecting, implementing and managing end to end customer support experience for our new SaaS offering – Intuit Health. I have successfully managed teams in several M&A transitions, retaining and growing both customers and employees.

I am a frequent participant in the support industry events as a speaker and a panelist. I have been recognized as an Innovator of the Year by Consortium for Service Innovations for my contribution to the development of Knowledge Centered Support (KCS) framework. I am a tenured judge of the annual Top Ten Support Websites competition.

I have been in school, in some academic program or other, most of my life. I have an equivalent of BA, MA, and ABD from Moscow University in Russia. My specialty in Moscow University was literature of American South. I have completed all of the doctorate coursework and wrote most of the dissertation but my emigration paperwork came through before my dissertation was finished. My Master’s thesis was on the concept of Absolute Evil in William Faulkner’s The Fable, and my doctoral work was on multiple points of view in the works of William Styron.

I moved to the US in 1991 and switched careers from academy to high-tech.  I have discovered my calling in the field of Technical Support – a job like no other, where you get to be a hero 9 to 5, solving people’s technical problems, and getting them back on track with their work and their lives. Over the past years,  I worked in different  Support roles at  several high-tech companies in the Silicon Valley – Netscape, VeriSign, PayPal and now Intuit.

My academic interests :

In 2006 I received an MBA from Golden Gate University and now I am continuing my academic journey in pursuit of the Ph.D. degree at Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, CA.  I am interested in the concepts of knowledge capture, share and reuse in the companies. I want to understand how teams collaboratively convert tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge, to gain better understanding of how knowledge systems interact with organizational systems. Specifically, I am focusing on small group collaborative problem-solving – the situations where several people spontaneously come together to troubleshoot a complex technical problem.  People “swarm” over a problem until it is resolved. Only one person in this group may have the actual responsibility to resolve the problem at hand, and yet the group assumes collective ownership of the challenge. These spontaneous groups are typically very small – three to seven people. None of the participants in these spontaneous collaborative problem solving events may have the complete knowledge set that would allow them to solve the problem individually, but by integrating their individual experiences and knowledge banks, they co-construct the new knowledge about the problem and that allows them to solve it. I am interested in understanding and describing the qualitatively different ways that the participants in these collaborative problem-solving events make meaning of their experience. My main research question is: “How do people in spontaneous collaborative problem solving groups understand their experience?” If we knew more about how the individuals involved understand their experience, it might help us understand the genesis, operation, dissolution, and re-emergence of such groups.

My initial observation of the spontaneous problem solving groups led me to conclude that they display classic properties of complex adaptive systems: these groups are open, emergent, and adaptive. The members of the groups are diverse, interactive, and connected through weak ties to a larger population of employee community. Membership in a group is random but this randomness is based on non-random interacting rules of group nomination and self-selection. I am particularly interested in looking at problem solving groups as complex self-organizing systems. The group is self-regulated and only exists with the particular membership for the instance of a particular problem solving event. Members of the group bring their own unique combination of skills, knowledge, and prior experience, and the success of the group problem solving depends on diversity of experiences of group participants and their ability and willingness to collaborate. After the problem is solved, the group dissolves and may be reassembled with the same or different membership during the next situation when this type of participation is needed. I am working on building theoretical foundation for my future research in this area.

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Pandora

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