November 2007

Collaboration for excellence: Opportunities for discovering, understanding, and applying innovative knowledge-sharing approaches for impact


In 2008, starting in March, the KS Project of the ICT-KM Program is offering a unique opportunity to CGIAR staff and partners to explore and experiment with knowledge-sharing principles and methods in an innovative 3-phase action-research-based design.


Download the workshop announcement (135 kb) 

Read more on the workshop blog


Contact: Simone Staiger-Rivas (, Petr Kosina (

Registration deadline: February 15, 2008

More than 30 years after participatory research approaches emerged, we still face formidable obstacles to take up, use, and ultimately achieve impact from the results of CGIAR agricultural research. One missing element is the appropriate and effective sharing of knowledge, whether within our institutions, between Centers, or with our partners. At the same time, new and effective approaches and tools have been developed and proven to strengthen collaboration. Recent possibilities of Participatory Web open new doors to more inclusive and transparent collaboration for excellence.

Overall: You should obtain an understanding and appreciation of the role and value of KS in research and institutional arenas; undergo experiences on how to apply KS concepts and approaches; and interact effectively with CGIAR staff and partners.

* Phase 1: An overview of KS methods and principles; and opportunities to apply them.

* Phase 2: Develop Action Plans to implement KS methods and principles in new or ongoing institutional or research projects.

* Phase 3: Coached experience on carrying out KS projects, and joint publication.

* Cost: 500 USD (with a 30% discount for two or more participants from one center or organization)

* Phase 1: Online. 24 March–18 April 2008.

* Phase 2: Face-to-face meeting. 6–8 May 2008 (at ILRI Campus in Addis, Ethiopia). Tickets, food, and housing to be covered by participants.

* Phase 3: Online. May to end of September 2008. Coaching is free of charge; costs of implementing activities to be covered by the respective centers and partners.

* You can choose to participate in phases 1, 1+2, or 1+2+3 of the course.

* I am a researcher and would like to explore KS tools and principles to improve my team’s work, which is spread over three continents.

* I am a human resource manager and would like to discover innovative ways to improve the internal communications of my center.

* I work with the CGIAR in Africa and would like to get a perspective on knowledge-sharing opportunities in rural areas.

* I am in charge of communications and would like to experiment with Web 2.0 tools.

* I am a Project Leader of a research project and want to improve collaboration and interaction with partners, stakeholders, and end users.

* I am an IT manager and would like to learn from researchers about their needs and expectations from ICTs.

* I am starting a community of practice and would like to get it right from the start.

* The course methodology is based on action learning principles and offers a systemic approach to KS. We will actively reflect and jointly explore opportunities, using blogs, wikis, and other virtual collaboration tools. We will experience different meeting techniques, draw network maps, and use KS principles and tools throughout the activities.

* All course materials and contents are developed in an open access environment and are considered as a global public good.

* In phase 3, care will be taken to design activities that are feasible, that is, possible for the time and resources available.

Phase 1 (1 hour daily expected): DISCOVER

* WEEK 1 – Finding Common Ground. Get to know each other and build our learning community. Share our environments: Our poeple, networks, challenges and opportunities.

* WEEK 2 and 3 – Exploring the Landscape. About people, tools, and processes. Get clarity on our audiences and the purpose of our KS activities. Explore how a variety of tools and methods can help achieve our purposes and reach our audiences, and how to choose the right ones.

* WEEK 4 – Homesteading. Digging in deeper: Exploring key topics of interest that emerged throughout phase 1.

Between phases 1 and 2: Preparation for the face-to-face meeting. Scanning the KS areas that phase-2 participants would like to explore. Team up participants in KS focus groups.

Phase 2 (face-to-face): FOCUS
* DAY 1 – Define a KS “project” for each focus group; Build the project’s vision, objectives, and strategy outline.
* DAY 2 – With support from KS coaches, focus groups explore specific principles and methods of interest to the group. These are shared in the plenary session.
* DAY 3 – Design project action plans, explore adaptations, and obtain adoption by participants’ individual centers or organizations. Share in plenary session.

Phase 3: APPLY
* With support from a coach, participants carry out a KS activity that had been designed and planned in phase 2.
* Participants interactively document their experiences. A joint publication is envisioned.

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