Next week a stakeholder consultation on the CGIAR change management process will take place in the Philippines at IRRI campus. A live blogger will join the meeting, follow and comment actively on the deliberations. So watch out the change management blog to follow discussions around the future of the CG.


The blog post on July 15th 2008 by Nadia Manning-Thomas entitled ‘ICARDA KSinR project uses mobile phones for knowledge sharing’ has been picked up by various others who are interested in exploring, learning and promoting the value of mobile phones in research and development.

The blog post was referred to on SmartMobs blog–see post:

Vanessa MeaduVanessa Meadu who works for ASB (Partnerships for the Tropical Forest Margins) and who is based at The World Agroforestry Center in Nairobi, attended the KS Workshop and got quickly known among participants as THE Flickr resource person.. She said nice things about her workshop experience like:
“I had a fantastic time in Addis and found the workshop to be extremely invigorating. I feel like I can approach my work with new enthusiasm,  and also new skills!” and: “The KS workshop has really helped at least sow the seeds for how to do things.”  But Vanessa did not only have fun and it seems that the seeds that were sowed collectively are carrying quickly fruits:
Vanessa shared with us proudly her brand new ASB blog! The blog is replacing the news section of the ASB website and features an interesting tool. The delicious account that she created feeds directly into the blog, which means that every time that a bookmark is created on delicious, it appears as a blog post. Vanessa says she has started to get ASB scientists excited about the collective bookmarking approach. 

Some interesting tips on how to train scientists in Web 2.0 tools can certainly be found in Pete Shelton’s recent post: Three lessons from a year of teaching 2.0 to researchers

Well done Vanessa!

The Institutional KS project has started to reflect with the ongoing Change Management Process coordinators on ways for effective engagement with all kinds of stakeholders.
The current opportunities to feed back to the process in general via a blog and the working groups outcomes (currently the Visioning group paper) through a discussion forum seem for the moment not generating lots of interest.
Many reasons can be found. Some are included in the following post on the Change Management blog post here.

But there are a number of things that we could do to encourage participation. Here are some ideas:

  • The Center directors could send an encouraging message to their staff and role model by participating in the blog and / or forum.
  • The working group members could forward the invitation to their networks and colleagues.
  • The Centers could organize short seminars followed by group discussions and feed back the results via the blog or forum.
  • The visioning paper could have an executive summary (if possible in Spanish and French to support all staff and stakeholders) in order to facilitate the scanning of the main messages and ideas.
  • The Steering Committee and working groups could choose among them a blogger who updates the wider audience regularly

Those are just a few… I am curious to know if there are other ideas…

Before launch we did a 2 hour session on KS tools. Participants had identified previously a set of tools that they wanted to get to know better and discuss further.

We used the Commoncraft Show videos as an introduction and than shared our experiences, questions and answers. Here are some examples:


  • Can two people edit a wiki at the same time?
  • What does History meanand what is it good for?
  • SPAM is often a problem. It is better to have login and password protection.
  • A specific version of Tiki Wiki allows you to work offline which is useful for those with bad connectivity (like our colleagues at ILRI campus in Ethiopia 😉 Also Google just released a service.
  • Is the administrator is the only one who can change and go back to previous version?
  • What are the weaknesses of wikis? Formatting issues, not easy to see tracked changes.
  • Wikis focus on content and not on the voices of the contributor. Not good for conversations.


  • Stories: hard to keep up.
  • It is useful to use plugins to send the same blog post to different blogs.
  • When we have project blogs we tackle the problem of writing our personal thinking versus institutional messages. We need to get language right.
  • Blogs don’t need to be a discussion forum, they can be used as an announcement mechanism.
  • Difference between discussion forums and blogs. As far as blogs are concerned, there is a main blogger and the comments are secondary. In discussion forums everybody is on the same level which is better for equally distributed conversations.
  • It is difficult to promote blogs when the center restricts access.


  • With RSS feeds we subscribe to content and take it from one place to another.
  • Does the use of RSS limit our spirit of discovery?
  • RSS allows knowing quickly when our organizations are mentioned in the news.
  • Gauri shared with the group which is a services where feeds from different web sites have been aggregated. It allows us to subscribe to selected feeds related to our specific interest.

Social Bookmarking

  • How can I see what others are bookmarking?
  • Being rigorous with tags is important.
  • Recognition of tags in different languages will help to create multicultural bridges.

The Knowledge Management for Development community KM4Dev runs a listserv, and a Web site, among others. The threads and contributions are frequently summarized by their originators and put on a wiki space called community knowledge. It’s a fabulous resource for all “knowledge workers”. And it’s a great example of collective action.

Most recently Ewen Leborgne from IRC summarized a topic on the role and rationale of a knowledge manager. Motivated by such a successful inquiry, I posted a request for information on event blogs, an activity that the Knowledeg Sharing Project was looking at in the context of the Annual General Meeting of the CGIAR.

The mail to the listserv generated first some side traffic with very insightful responses from Peter Ballantyne, Chris Addison, and Joitske Hulsebosch. Joitske took the initiative to summarize the contributions and offer them to the entire KM4Dev list, which in turn generated further reactions.  The summary –a work in progress– can be found at: