There’s a whole new world of ICTs out there. So much to choose from: technologies and services that could have a significant impact on the way we do research, aid….. well, our business, whatever that is.

There’s cloud computing, virtualization, chargeback and social software, to name just a few. And just where does Green IT fit into the scheme of things, if at all?

With budgets being squeezed ever tighter, many of us now have to justify more than ever our investment in new ICTs. We all know that certain ICTs can improve efficiency, are cost effective, and easy to implement and use, but with limited funds and a large array of technologies and services available to choose from, it can be a daunting task deciding what’s best for your organization.

In June I presented a paper at the CGIAR Science Forum discussing cloud computing and ubiquitous networks. Look at this paper to explore some of the advantages.
Each year, analyst firm Gartner releases its Top 10 Strategic Technologies list, a predictive inventory of the technologies and trends that will be strategic for most organizations in the three years following its release.

Last year, we started from this list and with help from the CGIAR IT Managers we used a ranking system based on five criteria: effectiveness, cost reduction, practicality, user satisfaction and low cost to select our top 10. Cloud computing was looked at there too…

Towards the first half of October, we will have a new list of technologies for 2010 and as part of a new upcoming ‘Tech’ series in our blog, there we will give you more details on each of the new technologies/processes we expect to gain ground in the CGIAR in 2010.

Stay tuned as you can find there some ideas for your organization!

Feby Litamahuputty participating in a River of Life activity

Feby Litamahuputty participating in a "River of Life" activity

There might be no other CGIAR center where knowledge sharing approaches have been more effectively adopted in face-to-face meetings then CIFOR, the Center for International Forestry Research.

Over the last year or so, CIFOR used knowledge sharing approaches for its strategic planning process, an activity sponsored by the Institutional Knowledge Sharing project as one of its three pilot projects.

“When a research organization embarks on a discussion of its mission and how to achieve it over an entire decade, it’s only natural to want such a strategic planning exercise to be creative, open, well-informed, and comprehensive. That means drawing heavily on the knowledge and experience of staff, trustees, and stakeholders. After all, a lot is riding on the outcome: the impact of research on the lives of the intended beneficiaries; contributions to the global knowledge base; scientists’ reputations; the stability and magnitude of future funding; and in some instances the very survival of the institution.”

img_1245.jpg CIAT has started its strategic planning process. As an entry point and a way to involve all staff, the Center invited to a visioning exercise using the future story methodology. The expected outcome was to collect stories that focus on possible future developments of CIAT and that are based in staff perceptions of CIAT’s strengths. Sessions have been held in regional offices in Asia and Africa, and also at Headquarters where partners where additionally invited to contribute in an extra session. Throughout those 5 sessions 14 future stories have been collected and are now analyzed. The stories will feed into the Center’s annual meeting to be held in two weeks time where possible scenarios for CIAT’s future will be discussed and analyzed. This was the process we have been facilitating:
Participants were invited to reflect individually about a time when they felt proud of CIAT as an institution and as a research center, and when they felt happy and proud of working at CIAT.  Those Appreciative Inquiry reflections were shared in small groups and summarized on cards. Each group took then time to write a story. Pretending being in 2012, participants imagined the path that CIAT went from now to 2012 and that led CIAT to be a successful research center. The stories were based on the individual reflections of participants “happy moments”.  

Have a look at our KS toolkit for more information on Storytelling and Appreciative Inquiry

For more information on Future Stories see page 35 of SDC’s Story Guide: