This year we were 4 CG participants at the annual meeting of the Km4Dev Community:

CGIAR participants at KM4Dev 2008

  • Andrea Pape-Christiansen from ICARDA. Her participation was sponsored by the Institutional KS project as a means to further foster the KM capacity of a KS workshop participant. Andrea was very interested in the KM strategy discussions that the International Labour Organization (ILO), FAO and Care have been initiating as Open Space topics.
  • Eva Schiffer who just left IFPRI, but will be working with the CG as a consultant. Eva volunteered to lead a session on Day 0, an attempt to map the KM4Dev network and make us realize that we are all linked at some point! (see earlier post) The exercise raised some controversial and rich discussions, and led also to the project of one Open Space working group: Map out our sister and brother communities.
  • Pete Shelton from IFPRI was another participant invited by the Institutional KS project. Pete has proven to be an important resource person for many people in the CG and other agricultural organizations because of his knowledge in ICTs and information management.  Not surprising then that Pete went to the techie sessions, like the one on “speading up the Km4Dev Web site”, or the one on “Personal Learning through social networking” or “Using Mobile Phones for KS”.
  • Finally myself. It was my fourth participation in a Km4Dev meeting and every year it proves to be inspirational and energizing. I attended amongst others sessions on KM and the private sector, the future of KM4dev, and I led a session on the KS Workshop and toolkit as a means to encourage developemnt organizations to re-use the materials produced for their capacity building efforts. I also presented a poster on the KS project. More on that in a seperate post….

See the Km4Dev wiki for the Open Space session reports: http://www.km4dev.org/wiki/index.php/Open_Space_Discussion_Reports

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On Saturday morning the KM4Dev core group was joined by all those participants who were interested in KM4dev community “business”. The morning was divided in two sessions: One that was looking at the history, context, purpose, challenges and opportunities of the Km4Dev core group, and a second session where we explored in groups issues, and ideas related to our community.
The first session was handled in a Fishbowl format and generated quite a lot of interest, the second session was again an Open Space and participants came up with the following topics / ideas for discussions:

  • Technology issues in relation to Dgroups and the Re-structuring of our KM4Dev Tech Infrastructure
  • What are possible Criteria & KM4Dev quality standards of joint projects?
  • Writing a  proposal to fund a Km4Dev incubator
  • Create KM4Dev Regional chapters
  • What are the expectations from KM4Dev for sponsored participants?
  • How can we finance our meetings?
  • Lets organize a Community Action Day
  • Ways to move forward the Network of Networks work

You can find already some details about each idea and the notes from the reporting back session at the Km4Dev wiki:
http://www.km4dev.org/wiki/index.php/KM4Dev_Workshop_-_Lisbon_(Almada),_June_2008:_information_for_participants#Core_Team_Meeting

Some points that pooped up very strongly in the discussions:

  • The need to coordinate funding efforts
  • The need to crystallize some principles for the community with respect to governance and finances if we go the path of fundraising
  • The strong feeling that it is time to open regional chapters and that there is lots of energy out there to go ahead. Yeah!
  • The wonderful idea of the community day: straightforward, easy, and energizing!

The KM4Dev workshop started with a Day 0, a day for newcomers to discover the community, it’s core group of people, it’s history, it’s communication channels, and the context and challenges that community members are involved in.

“This first day was much about identity issues”, said Ewen Leborgne from IRC.
After a first icebreaker (would you define yourself as a Northern versus Southern, Newbie versus oldie, KM versus Development orientated member, techie versus process focusing?), we had a chance to discover the history of KM4Dev commented by Lucie, the “oldest and wisest “ community member present at the event, accompanied by a live and visual illustration done by Nancy White and Allison Hewlitt. A chat show hosted by Nancy White gave us the opportunity to discover different contexts in which KM4Dev members are developing their activities: rural development, development communication, international research…

When we reconvened in the afternoon we already have had a chance to talk to many participants, but the real first in-depth interaction took place around a network mapping exercise led by Eva Schiffer. Eva is passionate about SNA and she was brave enough to use us as guinea pigs for a first attempt to make “individuals map individuals”. We were 8 at a table and as a first step we shared among us sister networks we are involved with. The result was a huge and impressing list that we put together in plenary. We then started to draw individual network maps and to link them at our tables of 8. Things got a bit complicated when we were asked to identify content and community drivers within these network maps and give them a number between 1 and 5 as an expression of importance. At our table people felt reluctant to put numbers on people’s names and rate them. Other’s had a problem with the exercise as a whole: what is this useful for? Here are three of the many reactions that were shared afterwards:

  • We could have done the mapping exercise around the sister communities to highlight their importance and relevance
  • It seems that some people here are very into the community and enjoy mapping it whereas other participants are users of KM4Dev resources and don’t feel the need to map relationships.
  • It was incredibly brave that Eva took the lead on the exercise and showcased the value of experimentation with Km tools.

All the reactions and workshop notes are documented on the KM4Dev wiki.
If you want to know more about Social Network Analysis, go to the KS toolkit
Follow the KM4Dev workshop blog.

The Institutional KS Project is proud to announce supporting the participation of two CGIAR staff to attend the upcoming annual KM4Dev gathering.

Andrea Pape-Christiansen, in charge of knowledge management at ICARDA, participated in phase 1 of the KS workshop and applied for sponsorship, an offer that was expressed to workshop participants as a means to support further capacity building of “KS champions” in CGIAR centers.

“Past interactions with the ICT-KM Program have been viewed as stimulating and beneficial to ICARDA’s work, and I would like to widen this interaction on the KS front by becoming an active member of KM4Dev. Reaching out to this community can help me bridge some knowledge gaps so I can serve the Center better,” says Andrea.

Peter Shelton is an Information and Knowledge Management Specialist at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). IFPRI has been engaging effectively with KS tools for its internal and external communication and has been a key contributor to the ICT-KM Program through the CGVLibrary project. From the Library and Knowledge Management Unit at IFPRI, Pete acts as an important resource person for many people in the CG and other agricultural organizations by providing pragmatic examples and implementations of web tools to give more visibility and access to CGIAR research. Furthermore, Peter has been contributing to promote KS thinking beyond IFPRI through training, blogs and social networking.

“We at IFPRI are looking forward to share knowledge and best practices with KM4Dev, and contribute with our recent experiences. We are specifically interested in the discussion around KM and impact, and to understand the roles of production of knowledge and the roles of practitioners, academics and policy makers and the best ways to reach them.”, says Luz Marina Alvaré who leads IFPRI’s Library and KM initiatives.

The KS project is looking forward to their active engagement in the meeting and for Pete and Andrea to feed back their learnings to their Centers, the ICT-KM Program and colleagues CG-wide.

 

This pre-workshop discussion was launched as a follow-up of the KM4Dev workshop survey, and as an attempt to involve all members prior to the workshop.

The initial questions were:

  • W hat are your big questions re. impact or measurement of KM initiatives?
  • Alternatively, what have you been trying to do to find out how well your KM initiative is doing?
  • How have you been able to “prove” that it has born fruit?

The 50 contributions reflect the following 5 interlinked areas:

1. Complexity: Impact of KM and KM as a complex, long-term process. Many examples, tools and methods have been shared that can help, like participatory approaches, storytelling, Social Return on Investment, process documentation etc.
2. KM efficiency and effectiveness: Versus the attempt to embrace complexity: cost effectiveness, demystification, looking at interventions, concrete obstacles. Quantitative requirements are coming from our organizations and donors. Within this topic a discussion thread is about oprganizational and donor requirements and how to meet their mostly quantitative data requirements.
3. Empowerment, KM and behavioral change. Is behavioral change our goal or is it a means or a condition for KM? KM consolidates new thinking…
4. Power: “Knowledge is power”. In the era of information overload K can be power. Collective/corporate versus individual power. K to empower people…
5. Importance of Knowledge Sharing: Share or perish, open source attitude, KS is our contribution to development.

The full summary is available at the community knowledge wiki: http://www.km4dev.org/wiki/index.php/Impact_and_M%26E_of_KM

The following is an attempt of a visual summary of this discussion:

 

The annual KM4Dev meeting will be held this year from 18-21 June at the Pousada de Juventude Hostel in Almada, Portugal (just outside Lisbon).

As with previous meetings, KM4Dev wants to use the opportunity of KM4Dev participants – new and old – getting together to discuss real issues with which we are dealing in our ongoing work. In other words, KM4Dev 2008 is meant to bring us together for collective thinking about a range of key challenges, solutions, experiments, and ideas with a view to helping each of us go back to our individual work contexts with renewed energy and new thoughts about how to do what we do – and how to help others with whom we work do what they do – better!

The 3-day meeting will be held in Open Space Format.

More at the KM4Dev Wiki.