At the recent Annual Research meeting of the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), the KSinR Project leader- Nadia Manning-Thomas, was asked to develop, together with the Communications Director and Director for Impact, a session on “Creating a Culture of Impact”.

The two hour session started with an introduction about ‘WHY?’ we need to think about impact more systematically within the institute and the changes it may require in the ‘way we do business’. Following on from this was a presentation on the Impact Pathways approach as a framework for planning, tracking and evaluating impact- given by Nadia Manning-Thomas. The presentation introduced the four main stages in the impact pathway:

  1. Developing a logic model to make explicit the goal being worked towards and the causal links to achieving this
  2. Identification of key actors, what relationships and activities they currently have and what is needed for the future. In this case it is also good to further identify those Boundary Partners which a project/program can most realistically work with and influence, and can take project results forward.
  3. Development of key strategies to be undertaken by the Institute/project/program to bring about the necessary changes using project results and outputs. This helps tie the project activities to the final goal.
  4. How to monitor and evaluate all of this

The next part of the session consisted of three ‘stations’ in the conference room which everyone was expected to visit for a 20 minute session. The stations, representing some key strategies or frameworks were:

1. Knowledge Sharing in Research: ideas, experiences, lessons–Nadia Manning-Thomas

2. Uptake Strategy–Joanna Kane-Potaka

3. Outreach strategy designed for a a specific project being proposed–Meredith Giordano

These stations elicited so much discussion that groups were only able to make it to two stations before it was time to return to plenary for a quick discussion, before breaking for lunch, on:

* How to operationalise this at IWMI?

*What strategies can we use at IWMI in our projects?

*How can we do this?

The whole session was very interesting and filled with lively discussion. The overall result was that most people now seem to accept and believe in the fact that we should be doing things differently to achieve imapct and need to learn to think and act differently, making us of new tools and approaches. The big question that then came up was ” How do we do it?”. There is now a need to bring in information, experiences, guidance, training etc to make this a reality at IWMI.