A workshop for CGIAR communications professionals will take place next week at WorldFish Center, in Penang, Malaysia. From March 23 to 26, some 20 participants from 14 CGIAR centers, the Secretariat and the Alliance will meet to:

  1. Provide input into communications during the CGIAR reform process and consider the role and scope of communications in the new CGIAR.
  2. Identify means, incentives and specific opportunities to strengthen our collective communications.
  3. Develop a Work Plan for Collective Communications through 2009.
  4. Identify a set of news story ideas that will provide a focus for CGIAR media outreach over the next year.

The Institutional KS project will support this event with facilitation, documentation and some social media hands-on sessions. ICT-KM Program leader Enrica Porcari will also participate with the objective to contribute to the vision of the new role of Communication in the renewed CGIAR and share the program experience in making information available and accessible.

I would like to build upon Enrica’s post about change in the CGIAR. I came across a really useful matrix yesterday (thanks to a forward by Stephan Dohrn from IFPRI of the Change Management Newsletter), that can help us evaluate the need / usefulness for knowledge sharing approaches in the context of change.  Ralph Stacey looks at change processes form the perspective of levels agreement and certainty.

  • High level of agreement in an organization / high level of certainty: Requires traditional management approaches
  • High level of agreement in an organization / high level of uncertainty: Requires consulting scenarios
  • Low level of agreement in an organization / high level of certainty: Requires buy-in strategies

While low level of agreement in an organization combined with a  high level of uncertainty leads an organization to the edge of chaos”, The Change Management Toolbox tells us about Ralph Stacey’s Matrix:

Most contemporary management processes are situated in a field that fluctuates between the extremes that have been delineated above. Characterised by a medium to high level of uncertainty and by stakeholders with highly diversified perspectives on what should be done. Here, laws of complexity science and neurobiology apply to change in organisations, and change is the norm. In such environments, the main task of management is to facilitate the co-creation of the organisation’s future, to provide room for self-organisation and to let people decide themselves about their own and their organisation’s issues. I firmly believe that such strategies are the only way to lead out of the political crisis of the world, and that more and more profit and non-profit organisations will adapt management tools for co-creation, such as Open Space Technology, Appreciative Inquiry, World Café, and other tools to come.”

Another interesting and related post (The Giraffe blog) is about a very recent seminar at IDS with David Snowden. The post highlights Snowden’s Cynefin KM Framework.  

Looking at the CGIAR change management process: where do you think that we stand in those matrixes? And what would be the best appraoches to enabling change in the CGIAR?

Sue Parrott from Green Ink.

Sue Parrott from Green Ink.

As I am participating in a meeting of the Change Management Process of the CGIAR at IRRI in Los Baños, Philippines I was happy to have a chat with Sue Parrott who took over the role of a live blogger during the event. Sue works for Green Ink., a UK-based communications consultancy, and has been reporting meeting sessions and interviewing participants in this event that aimed at engaging the Working Groups, and the Steering Committee with a whole range of stakeholders in a consultation process. Very soon –in less then a month—the Steering Committee has to make recommendations to the Executive Committee of the CGIAR, which will lead to final decisions about the future of our System during the Annual General Meeting in December this year.

Stakeholder engagement is a crucial element of the whole process (see a related post reflecting the reactions of Ruth Haug from Norway) and the blog has been identified as one possible channel to convey frequent up dates and hopefully get some feedback.

So, I asked Sue about her blogging experience:
It has been really good fun. The blog, as a new channel and trendy media, generated interest among the meeting participants who responded very positively to my interview invitations. I could work very independently also I would almost have liked interviewees to be more controversial. Sue and I agreed about the importance of keeping the blog going actively until the December meeting at least, and to publicize it. Sue admits that this is her first event blogging experience and would love to get feedback about its usefulness: Does it give you information you can’t get elsewhere, is it timely?

The blog covered the 3-day event with 15 posts, more then 10 of them being interviews of participants, many in video format.

The Instiutional KS project has been working with the CGIAR Secretariat on stakeholder enagement and knowledge sharing issues over the last 3 years.

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 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…