Susan MacMillan

Susan MacMillan

I was happy to meet Susan MacMillan, Head of Public Awareness at ILRI, in Penang at the CGIAR strategic communications meeting. We had met for the last time at AGM08 where she attended the first day of the Knowledge Management, Education and Learning Workshop. That event had kicked off with a presentation by Steve Song from the Shuttleworth Foundation. Steve introduced participants to the fundamental changes around Web 2.0 tools. While I was fascinated by his talk, I was wondering what Susan was doing in the back of the room, very actively typing in her lap top. I am ashamed to admit that I thought she was doing email and not paying attention to what I considered as a crucial opportunity for the participants and the research and development community as a whole.  Later on, Susan shared with me the amazing article which she had written for ILRI’s Intranet during Steve’s presentation about the potential of web 2.0. Very kindly Susan authorized us to publish the text as a blog post. Now, meeting again in Penang I was even more delighted about her telling me how much this presentation had impressed her and opened the doors for ILRI’s path towards social media. While she became an ambassador for social media in her center, the Webteam already plans an ILRI Web site renewal based on the principles and tools of social media tools.

Paul Stapleton

Paul Stapleton

The second example could be called CIP 2.0. While Paul Stapleton, CIP’s Head of Communications and Public Awareness,  was one of the first to sign up for the recent social media online workshop, we discovered that he uses social media a lot for personal purposes, but hasn’t started to consider it for CIP’s communication processes. That changed quickly during and after the workshop: Paul was immediately part of the CGIAR Yammer group that was created during the Penang meeting, and has become a daily user of it. Once back in Lima, he included social media ideas into a presentation to his management, who got very excited about the prospects and so Paul is going to start a wiki for them.

Those are very encouraging examples for all of us who are working towards the use of innovative communications and knowledge sharing tools and methods.

Thank you Susan and Paul for your open minds and enthusiasm!

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