Monday, May 19th, 2008

A quick look at the statistics of the different Knowledge Sharing Web resources shows the huge impact of the KS toolkit. While the KS Web site visits grows smoothly over the months and reaches now more than 1000 visits, the blog maintains itself in ups and downs and varies between 200 and 600 visits a month. The blog started in June 2007 and has currently 92 posts in 16 categories and with 111 tags. The Flickr photo gallery got more than 4,000 visits since its existence. But the KS toolkit seems to become the killer resource! Featuring 58 tools and methods, it has only been unofficially launched two months ago and counts already almost 20,000 views in that period! The following graph shows the stats of Web site, blog and toolkit, and in green the totals.

Mid-May, all set up for Workshop Day One, and for my Day One with ICT-KM. We meet in bucolic Maccarese, dotted with red poppies everywhere; a green morning scene governed by spring showers.


The leaders of some ICT-KM projects – Simone, LuzMa and Antonella – have the floor for most of this day. Nadia, out in Africa (Addis), has got the center of our table, where the conference phone is placed. The leaders speak of Project achievements, of challenges and perspectives, now that Projects are at mid-term. Discussions are around how to make the most of the knowledge sharing toolkit just launched, of lessons learned in workshops, of how to better partner with Centers, the CGIAR Secretariat, the IT teams and Information managers community, with researchers, scientists, and with outside partners. Antonella gives suggestions for adoption of CGMap, and the next generation of the CGXchange.


On the train to Rome, LuzMa, our CGVibrary leader, who works at IFPRI, confesses this is her best ICT-KM meeting ever, as she can finally speak openly and she feels she is being heard.


Day Two. Peter and Jim join us. They are two consultants who have been working with the ICT-KM program for a while. I may be forgiven for only knowing so far that, before moving on to IT strategy, Jim was a French horn player and a Music Major. Could admire both Peter and Jim’s articulate arguments for days on end. We have got only two days this time. LuzMa laughs at the irony of the password on my Bioversity-issued laptop: sunnydays. Still cloudy outside, while in the Conference Room everyone is shinning and radiating with ideas, planning and strategy.


Over morning coffee, oranges and bananas, David, a consultant who has been associated with ICT-KM from the start, presents a short history of the program from its beginnings in 2002 (when Enrica was hired as CIO), until this day. Will save the story of Enrica’s hiring for a separate Blog entry.


To the juice of the meeting: the CGIAR is about creating international and public research ‘goods’ – but they are not born so. When research produces an output, this needs to be worked on to be made public, and this is what ICT-KM plans to facilitate. ICT-KM could be, in Peter and David’s words, ‘the IPG (International Public Goods) midwife’.


Next on the agenda is Peter’s Power Point presentation on the ‘Triple A’ concept (Availability, Accessibility, Applicability). It will be made available on this site soon.


The evening is spent at Enrica’s house. At long length we make it there, seven of us jammed in Enrica’s four wheeler, after she rescues us from the rain. When we get to the house, Enrica’s son William is break-dance training Tania and Antonella among platters heavy with enough Italian foodstuffs to write about in a separate post. Peter and David only show up to work away at a laptop at Enrica’s dining room table; and Peter is still wearing his business suit.


Day Three is finally sunny, as everyone keeps noticing all the time. We get to see what Peter and David were engrossed in during our social evening. They did a second Power Point presentation (pretty amazing so few! We really practice what we preach!), this time on the ‘Three Cs’: Connectivity, Content, Culture . We split in smaller groups all over the sunny Bioversity terrace and fine-tune our work prospects under the above mentioned Cs’.


Once we agree on a ’Three Cs’ action plan, we return to the sunny terrace. We split again and talk on ICT-KMs Communications needs. Blogging is part of the discussion.


End of workshop. Great exercise in democracy, great focus gained. On the lighter side, great jokes told –  at one point Jim fell under the table and Fiona almost knocked the wall from laughing too hard. We conclude that we will stay close colleagues and friends, despite geography, and that we will make an effort in all the areas we highlighted. And then we run to catch the train back to Rome.


What we (and not only we, but everyone in CGIAR) will focus on now, is writing our Medium Term Plan. The deadline is June 15, as everyone knows. Good luck with that!






Email, virus, and spam volume continues to increase.  Consider this: in July 2007 ,  5 million messages were being addressed to the over 8,000 CGIAR staff all over the world —by  March-2008,  this had risen to 24 million. This means 32,000 messages per hour are sent to us, a 500% increase over the 6,000 per hour of nine months ago.   Even more interesting, over 80% are spam.

A partnership with CGNET and Symantec avoids these messages from reaching our networks and thus keeping valuable network bandwidth in the many remote locations we work free, so our scientists can concentrate on what really matters: focusing their efforts on the much needed life-saving research.

success story: every little helps

Next time you get up from your computer, consider this – you could be helping scientists discover new ways to attack the global food crisis, find a cure for cancer or understand the impact of climate change on Africa… more  from super computers to super rice