Irritated by the title of this post? You shouldn’t be. During the “Lunch & Learn” events and the multimedia and video workshops we learned, that there are a lot of good stories at SDC that are worth to be told and that can be told in many ways.
By Beat Rüdt, MAZ
As an organization that is based in Switzerland and is doing good work all over the world, SDC must keep track of all its activities. Not only to justify the work to the public, but also to spread the word internally, to all the co-workers who deal with similar projects and get similar experiences.
The wish to share knowledge leads to written reports and a lot of conferences; and then again to long reports documenting what happened at the conferences. The co-workers are confronted with a lot to read – much more than they can handle.
The goal must therefore be, to summarize the facts in a way that makes it easier for the recipients to get informed. How are we going to do that?
The right form for every aspect of the story
At MAZ – the Swiss journalist school, we put a lot of thoughts into the question how information is transported in the most optimal and powerful way. Our tip: Find the accurate form for every aspect of your story. For example:
- Use graphs, if you talk about numbers
- Use video, if you want to show something that is moving
- Use am map, if you want to show, where your story takes place
Too obvious? Well, look at the reports you create and the ones you receive. You will find out, that even those simple rules are not always kept.
And of course there is more. When do you use 360° photos? When is a storymap or a timeline a good tool to visualize your thoughts? Our answer looks like this:
Multimedia Storytelling flowchart by MAZ
You start with the simple question “what is the story about?” You answer every question with a simple “yes” or “no”. The flowchart guides you to the most adapted forms that help you to tell your story in an attractive and meaningful way. A list of tools supports you to create those forms. In the end, you will have found a way to inform your colleagues in an appealing, time-saving way that is fun to create and fun to read – for the benefit of better distribution of your information.
Link to the flowchart:
This blog post draws a colorful picture of what it means to be the facilitator. A facilitator has many roles to play before, during and after a workshop or learning event. But what are these roles? And how do we as facilitators see ourselves? During a Lunch & Learn event a group of facilitators reflected these questions in a visual way and uncovered a series of interesting metaphors.
By Jany Barraut and Nadia von Holzen (more…)
When I started my internship at SDC I’d never have thought that drawing would become so important in my work. Sometimes you just don’t find material to visualize what you want to say. This makes me grab my pencil and draw – and it adds a new twist to the presentation! You say you don’t have the talent to draw? Try and exercise and you will see: it is not that difficult. This video is meant to encourage you to discover your drawing skills, too!
Caro Van Leeuwen, SDC (more…)
Since 2010 SDC has developed a new approach for evaluating country strategies through a pilot process. Country evaluations support the definition of new cooperation strategies strategically and stimulate learning. The central pillar of this new approach is the promotion of the exchange and the sharing of knowledge within our institution and among an evaluation team led by an external consultant. What is, therefore, the major difference between country strategy evaluations and other external evaluations? SDC staff is involved in the evaluation team, acts as an evaluator but with an inside knowledge of the institutional issues and debates. A capitalization process of eight country strategy evaluations was undertaken in 2016. Different feedback and opinions of the involved people (peers, consultants, colleagues from the field and from HQ) are presented in the illustrations below.
By Valérie Rossi, SDC (more…)
The story circle is a crucial first step in making digital stories. Sharing story ideas in the circle helps clarify what the stories are really about. It is an intense group process of joint reflection and inquiry that is meaningful for everyone involved. Mid November, the SDC Learning & Networking Team organized its 4th Digital Storytelling workshop in Bern. In this workshop, “Pivotal Stories in Intercultural Contexts,” the story circle was once again the starting point for a dynamic process of reflection and dialogue. This process continues throughout the entire workshop as storytellers edit, re-write, read aloud, and polish their scripts to completion.
By Darcy Alexandra, Inquiry Media and Nadia von Holzen, Learning Moments
“The play button is the most compelling call to action on the web” says Michael Litt, CEO and co-founder of Vidyard, a platform hosting business video content for distribution to websites and social channels. Not very surprising quote considering his position, you may say. But the success of the company reflects also the importance of video not only in marketing but also in other forms of communication. In this blog post, we want to have a closer look at the benefits of video in communication and introduce Lightbulb – a new format for sharing new and innovative learning experiences of SDC collaborators, units and networks. By Leonie Pock
In SDC learning is taking place in the networks – learning about approaches, about experiences and about good practices. The networks meet regularly in f2f-events in order to engage in this learning. But does it have an effect? What is the outcome of these events? By Beverly Wenger-Trayner, co-author of the Value Creation Framework
Are you planning to organize webinars? Then do what the Learning & Networking team did: We learned a great deal by observing how others designed their webinars. The webinar series on storytelling organized by Nicole Bittel from the Swiss Distance University of Applied Sciences were interactive and energizing. The secret: Focus on one topic, make it conversational and build in many interactive moments.
By Nadia von Holzen, SDC
We made stories. Making stories is great learning. This we know, this we experienced. Using stories is the next step. In knowledge communication there are many options to integrate digital stories into sharing and learning processes. In this blog post we collected 11 ½ ideas for you how to use your story or stories created by your colleagues.
Carmen Eckert, Leonie Pock and Nadia von Holzen, SDC (more…)
Soyolmaa, a great storyteller herself, supported three colleagues from the SDC Cooperation Office in Mongolia to create their very first story. These three short stories demonstrate important key ingredients of making stories: People, place and the author’s voice.
Nadia von Holzen, SDC
Facilitation is (also) a question of confidence, of daring to “stand there” and to be the facilitator. But first facilitation is a question of good preparation and of getting the 3 Ps clear: purpose, people and process. The key task of a facilitator is helping the organisers to clarify the purpose of the workshop, to understand people’s needs and questions, and to design a good process that is interactive, relevant and meaningful.
Nadia von Holzen, SDC
Learning being in the center of our work, we are constantly thinking of innovative ways to bring it to the next level. Based on our substantial study of theories of learning and change, we about a year ago decided to devote our attention to the question of how physical design of the environment supports learning. We have teamed up with an architect to help us translate our understanding of learning into the physical design of our lobby that became an important part of our learning space.
By Polona Sirnik and Jana Repanšek, Center of Excellence in Finance (CEF)
In a work related context sharing stories happens spontaneously during coffee breaks. But what about more formal settings? Picking up a story during a meeting feels different; we hesitate, think twice, we don’t remember the stories and in the end the story disappears: we share our opinion and make statements. So what does it need to pick up a story? There are two essential conditions for storytelling: first, the belief that stories are valuable and can make a difference; and secondly the opportunity to remember and to share a story.
Nadia von Holzen, SDC
Kanban is a Japanese word which signifies «visual signal». In the industry, for instance in car production kanbans are used to singnalize important information in the workflow: When do I need to reorder materials, for instance. The idea of kanban has spread to other industries in the last 15 years. Two pioneers of kanban in knowledge work are David Anderson and Jim Benson. They started using kanban to optimize the flow of work for individuals, teams or whole organisations. If you are interested in their work, you can read «Personal Kanban» by Jim Benson and Tonianne de Maria Barry or «Kanban – successful evolutionary change for your organisaton» by David Anderson. Using kanban for your own individual work is fairly straightforward and easy. What is demanding is to keep using it and evolving with it.
By Nadja Schnetzler
The idea behind social reporting during a learning event is not only to jointly produce a report and reach out to a wider audience. The beauty of social reporting is that it adds an additional layer of reflection to the workshop conversation. This blog post gives some tips how to include participants and how to make the task of the social reporting team doable and meaningful. The most important of the 6 tips is: Prepare what you can prepare and be flexible at the workshop.
Nadia von Holzen, SDC
SDC Programme Officers of West Africa and the Horn of Africa engaged in a joint learning process on pastoralism. In a series of meetings they collected, synthesized and exchanged experiences in eight key topics of this area. Manuel Flury and Charlotte Nager take a step back and reflect about the added value and the limitations of such an experience capitalization process.
By Manuel Flury, SDC, Addis Ababa and Charlotte Nager, SDC, Berne
Behind each story there is another story. Our stories are connected. So is the story about the Mongolian herders connected with Udval, a young leader supporting herder communities in Western Mongolia. Udval uses participatory video to give the herders voice and to support their sharing and learning. Soyolmaa Dolgor, communication specialist working for SDC Mongolia, travelled with Udval to Tsetseg soum, Khovd province to document her meeting with the herders’ community.
Soyolmaa Dolgor, SDC Mongolia
Alfonso Flores is a networker. He definitely has a networked mindset when he has the idea to connect his Latin America team with the Learning & Networking team based in Switzerland. After having participated in the digital storytelling workshop organized by the Learning & Networking team, his aim is to bring not only the idea of short digital stories back to his colleagues, he also wants to connect them with the Swiss team. To do so he asks the Learning & Networking team members to explain their services in short video statements. And what he shares back to the Swiss team is this blog post.
Alfonso Flores Bermúdez, SDC Nicaragua (more…)
In 2008 Maria del Carmen Alarcón Lizón started working as communication specialist with the SDC Cooperation Office in Bolivia. Over these years the communication approach within SDC Latin America has evolved from diffusion of information to a more integrative and participatory approach putting communication in the service of programmes and projects. An essential factor in this shift to communication for development (C4D) was sharing and learning among the communication practioners in SDC, for example in the communication network Redcolatina. A manual named “Comunicación para el Desarrollo – Una guía práctica” is the tangible result of this cooperation.
Maria del Carmen Alarcón Lizón, SDC Bolivia (more…)
The end of an assignment offers a great opportunity for reflection. Carsten Schulz shares some of his “take away points” as Team Leader with Georgian experts in a market systems development project. He underlines the importance of creating, using and sharing knowledge in a project context. “Knowledge is like a garden: if it’s not cultivated, it cannot be harvested.” A sharing and learning culture needs to be cultivated and cared for by the leader and requires action and engagement of all team members.
Carsten Schulz, currently working for GIZ in Armenia (more…)
Thinley Chenzom, Social Events Manager at the Swiss Cooperation Office in Bhutan, gained a new experience by creating digital stories. She inspired her team to create digital stories for the annual report. This idea resulted into several 3’ stories.
Thinley Chenzom, SDC Bhutan (more…)
This post tells the story of documenting a learning process. The initiative to systematize experiences in the area of pastoralism was launched in collaboration with the Agriculture and Food Security network. The Learning & Networking team decided to document exactly this process. Two ‘reporters’, Charlotte Nager and Hynek Bures, joined the workshop in Kenia, where around 20 people gathered to learn from each others’ experiences in the field of pastoralism. While the participants were involved in thematic thinking the two ‘reporters’ added an additional layer of reflection. This challenging endeavor will hopefully inspire future stories about learning.
By Hynek Bures, dubbed perceptions (more…)
Picking up the smartphone and recording a sparkling idea from the workshop is not unusual anymore in SDC. 213 videos have been uploaded to the SDC YouTube channel, this year only. That is why the next step needs some attention: How to use the new tool of expression and the videos produced in the work. This is a question of smartly combining the various communication channels: videos, PowerPoint slides, written reports, oral stories.
Hynek Bures, dubbed perceptions (more…)
The new facilitation book by Viv McWaters and Johnnie Moore for designing and conducting inspiring and creative meetings is available online. It is a book about the art of facilitation. The book is an invitation to reflect our role and our understanding as facilitators. It is not a book about techniques; it is a book about BEING the facilitator.
By Nadia von Holzen, SDC
The beauty of digital storytelling is that the results are not only visible but also shareable. The beauty is also that the process of creating stories within a 3-days workshop triggers deep reflection and learning for the each storyteller.
Alfonso Flores, communication specialist working for SDC’s Water and Sanitation programme in Central America shares his personal learning experience.
By Alfonso Flores and Nadia von Holzen, SDC (more…)