Groups discussing which questions to ask to Lead Speakers (photo credit Petr Kosina)

Groups discussing which questions to ask to Lead Speakers (photo credit Petr Kosina)

After the presentations of Steve Song and Prof Adipala at the KM, Education and Learning Workshop in Maputo (see other posts), we had a Q&A session. Herewith the notes.

Question: What are the 3 areas of likely greatest impact in terms of advancing knowledge sharing for innovation in agriculture R&D community? E.g. technology gap, organizational culture of openness and transparency or linking up different organisation from R&D; this question is not only a technology question.

Answer Steve: Meritocracy of communicating ideas. Use the approaches to empower local “institutions” on the ground.

Comment from group: The greatest thing would be if farmer organizations are empowered with knowledge. Enabling establishment of local institutions and farmers organizations.

Question: How to create “knowledge seeking” culture?

Question: Who is going to control the quality of the information?

Answer Steve: It is not one-directional, every body can contribute. In future information will find you. Quality control is done socially. It happens through social filters and human validation and it really works.
Social networks and relations will help address quality assessment and filtering. The boom of mobile connectivity as well as the Net gives opportunities. Mobile phones are used in very unexpected ways in areas with less connectivity. In 5 years we will not distinguish mobile from internet; there is a merging of platforms and how they are used. There has been comparison of Britannica and Wikipedia and overall Wikipedia is at least as reliable.

Question: What organizational & cultural changes are needed in universities to best adopt such tools?

Answer Prof. Adipala:
Instilling a “looking for information” culture, systematically.
Universities must recognize their constituents are not only the students. They have responibilites beyong the students and the campus.
Build ICT capacities in all regions, at all levels of academia; also to support Knowledge creation of others.

Question: How do we ensure that university reform is rooted in needs of the regions?

Answer Prof Adipala: Education is the basis of knowledge. Universities need to find partnerships, not only for internal consumption but elsewhere. they get the agenda from national agendas
Also: this is not only a task for universities. We are all players. The demand also needs to be articulated.

Question: Universities need to be seen as capable of building capacities of all other actors -not just farmers…

Comment: Universities need capacity to build capacity, to advise policy makers. We see ourselves as builders of capacity

Question: How to keep a two way communication going between universities and rural areas. How will that be done?

Answer: Conversations like this one here and others will katalyze change. Universities need to help themselves. They need to exposte themselves to outsiders; to learn, to partner… Create some “discomfort” in the universities. Take a proactive initiative. Making change by yourself is not easy.

Question: How do we -this community- take this further? What is the bigger framework? what is the strategic approach to guide CG and partners? Avoid getting lost with the change process.

Question: People amazingly have mobile phone access that would not dream of having internet access. What is the practical implication of mobile phones for KS? especially for science / research.
Answer: A great potential, for example data collection.

Question: Tell us about the Barefoot University

Answer: Universities are aware of the need to change, they are struggling with how. is a new model possible? Much closer to communities. Engage where you want impact. Implies major change and building of capacities.

Steve: It seems I talk about technology, but I am not. I am really talking about the mathematics of connectedness.