Knowledge: a journey to remember and to celebrate (Spatial CV)

February 2018

Fibonacci clock, showing how the mix of geo-technical (green) and geo-commercial (purple) experiences blend through career development to generate a more rounded explorationist

Fibonacci clock, showing how the mix of geo-technical (green) and geo-commercial (purple) experiences blend through career development to generate a more rounded explorationist


We read a lot about the difficulties that individuals experience with finding a job in the oil & gas sector these days. When the number of people looking for work vastly exceeds the availability of jobs, there is an inevitable squeeze, pushing hopeful candidates ever deeper in to the shadows. It is as much a hunter-seeker world today as it ever was but few seem to have grasped the immense impact that the information revolution has had on the hunter-seeker dynamic. We persist in clinging to the old way of doing things, which today is manifestly failing both job seekers and job owners. 


The Problem

It will come as no surprise to some of you that the task (if not the personal exposure) of finding the right person for the right job has become almost as difficult for “job owners” as it has for “job seekers”. The job owners are so busy doing several jobs (including yours) that they don’t have time to sift through the many worthy candidates. The more enlightened ones still do their own screening but they expect job seekers to compress their CVs to the basics (2-page-max). They may not even have time to read beyond the first paragraph but increasingly, it is already too late, because HR will most likely have used a “bot” to search for keywords to short-list candidates for them. The majority of job owners (I was one of them) just shrug and outsource the pre-screening altogether, either to HR or to head hunters, or both. 

Outsourcing is where the problem starts. HR are made up of very capable professionals but they typically lack the business content knowledge to generate a credible short-list. They tend to fixate on leadership potential, behaviours and values, assigning technical skills as “capabilities that can be developed”, which is partly true but not much use to the job owner at the first cut. HR are much better equipped to handle candidates after the job owner has screened the list. Conversely, head hunters, who are equipped to supply the first cut, serve a different business imperative to the job owners and only share the candidates that suit the spread of their supply chain. They can never actually show job owners who they have on their books at any one time because that is their only property. Outsourcing in any context creates a distance between the client (in this case job owners) and their objective (the right people in the right job). Appointing gate-keepers who are not necessarily qualified to judge the job seekers’ experience, removes job seekers from where they need to be: known to the job owner. 

So which do you prefer? compressed CVs or outsourcing? If you are happy with either choice, then there would be no point in your reading any further – but if you think it is time for change …

Guess what? Turns out geoscientists ARE special (well – spatial at least)

Whether you see your career as an act of self-fulfillment by continuous personal development (formative career), or more opportunistically through personal interest or passion (leisure career), careers founded on geology have something unique that separate them from other disciplines: they have geo-spatial significance. Spatial context is unique to geology because geology itself is unique around the world, so geological knowledge and experience is relevant to place. How often had you heard it said that “the best geologists are those who have seen the most rocks?”. Tracking the journey that geologists have made across different continents, basins and geological settings gives a deep insight in to both the breadth and depth of their knowledge, and experience. Visualisation of that journey makes it easy for us to find individuals from a world of geoscientists – to distinguish the wood from the trees at a glance. It is now possible to create a powerful visual record of individual endeavour and achievement: an image featuring multiple potential candidates who can contribute to your area of interest or who possess geo-technical analogue knowledge to expand your business objectives. As a job seeker, you get to be seen by the business – you become visible. As a job owner, you can filter the image to obtain the match desired using a much larger pool of candidates than anyone previously had access to. In effect, the right people in the right job – is that so hard to reach for?


New initiative

K2V Ltd has taken on the challenge of making knowledge of the subsurface both visible and accessible to anyone who wishes to connect with knowledge holders in confidence. The facility will be web-enabled and free to all knowledge holders whether for personal gain (such as employment) or for research (by participating in geo-technical dialogue). K2V is extending the published Knowledge PinMap™ so that anyone with content knowledge can pin their knowledge using their web browser as their knowledge develops. Each individual is encouraged to create their spatial identity by pinning the extent of their experience from early training days to academic or industrial achievement. All parts of their experience are both relevant and unique; all contribute to their individual development as they change “function in role” or as they work on different locations around the world. The new tool will harvest that information, validate it for internal consistency and veracity, automatically creating a career timeline that visually expresses the uniqueness of their career achievements. In effect, it will generate a new spatial CV (which is what the tool is called). Your Spatial CV prevents you from having to short-change yourself and locks in your passion without overwhelming the job owner. It helps job owners to identify what they may not realise they need and prevents the job seeker from excluding what they scarcely imagined was important.

What’s in it for job seekers?

Spatial CV is being beta-tested this month – if the concept resonates with you, then now is the time to make sure that what is delivered in March matches what you want to gain by using the tool. Spatial CV will be free to all knowledge holders but will only work if you all contribute your pins (the telephone was a great invention but it only really worked when everyone had one!).

Spatial CV.jpg

“What’s in it for me?”. In a word: visibility! So far, over 600 geoscientists have pinned their knowledge and the overwhelming response has been “Why haven’t we always been doing this?”. Our personal journey is unique and that is what makes us perfectly qualified to fulfil certain roles, so taking a couple of hours to map it, reminds us of the value we have contributed. Spatial CV creates a timeline simultaneously, allowing us to switch between time and place as we add activity that may have been overlooked for years and to reconcile the gaps as well as identify the overlaps. 

Once you have mapped your past, your pins will be visible for all to see but only you know which entries are yours. Your identity will remain confidential until a potential employer requests information and then only with your explicit consent.

What’s in it for job owners?

Making everyone's knowledge visible on a map of the world allows hirers to instantly identify who might be of interest to them just by looking at the map as a visual aid before reading any documented description. The map shows “who knows what, where and when”, and can be interrogated as a first screening, choosing your criteria to narrow the field as required or to test availability. 

All for free. 

Once the map has been sculpted to show the desired resource pool, a second screening visualisation will show a spatial time-line that tracks how those individuals’ careers have evolved and whether their experience fits with future development potential or demographic gaps within your organisation. It is important to realise that at this stage, the pins remain anonymous until the identity of the pinners is given for consent to progress to the third and final screening. Once consent is granted, the job owner pays a fee to reveal the identity of the job seeker(s) who present their documented CVs, followed by a face-to-face interview with the assistance of HR in the normal way. By cross-checking the job seekers’ own personal narratives with the visuals made available from the first two screens, the job owners get everything they need, effectively compressing the selection process in to words and pictures. The job owner is back in control of screening using free tools to make the task both easier and more efficient before making any payment or drawing on the help of HR.

Is this enough?

What we are proposing has the potential to turn our industry on its head but only if knowledge holders, currently in or out of work, are willing to increase their visibility. If you, as a job seeker, are prepared to help define the future of the company that hires you, then pinning your past will help shape the future of industry. 

In mature hydrocarbon settings like the North Sea, we are not short of connected data but we are short of connected knowledge. There are plenty of sources of knowledge in the public domain but there is a dearth of connected thinking outside the hallowed corridors of academia or independent energy companies. The old model can be enhanced if we freely share “who knows what, where and when”.  National regulators would be able to have the right kinds of conversations with the right people allowing them to unlock what we currently “don’t know that we don’t know”. 

To glimpse at what the proof of concept looks like, click HERE and you will see the knowledge of 10 independent consultants who have pinned their knowledge to a map of the world. This is just a prototype but at a glance, you can identify different levels of knowledge for different job functions allowing you to rapidly identify whom you might like to have a conversation with for an opportunity that you may lack the content knowledge for. Your pins do not know your gender, race, neighbourhood, beliefs or physical attributes, they only represent merit, pure and simple. Now you as hunter or seeker can truly level the playing field on the basis of spread, breadth, depth and certainty of knowledge; personal achievement through unequivocal equality.


*Spatial CV is designed to visualise the development of geo-technical practitioners with more than 5 years’ experience. A different solution is being designed with universities to provide visibility for those with less developed cognitive biases.