Social Reporting on and from face-to-face meetings of SDC’s networks became a trendy practice. This blog post looks behind the scenes and reflects on three questions: What is actually Social Reporting? What makes it social? And is it worth the effort? (more…)
Today’s blog post invites you to pause for a second and to think about one of the most used tools of everyday office life. Powerpoint. What once was considered a revolution in presentation technique today often turns out to be a threat to every knowledge transfer. With a short comic strip Nadia von Holzen and Nadia Lanfranchi would like to make you check over your presentation strategies. What is key to an engaging presentation? Are there alternatives to Powerpoint? And what should be considered in order to avoid Powerpoint’s pitfalls? (more…)
This blog post asks about the motivation of reading our sdclan Blog. We are curious to know why you – dear blog reader – are with us, week for week, reading our posts and the posts of our guests. (more…)
A new form of influencing policy-making is emerging thanks to the Internet. The Arab Spring, anti-ACTA protests, the Occupy movement, pirate parties have at least one thing in common: they all share the Internet as an enabler. On the Internet, protest movements coordinate activities and manage to reach out to the global public. Governments and international organisations cannot ignore this substantive change. Jovan Kurbalija, in his contribution, discusses challenges facing governments and organisations in getting involved in the social media space. (more…)
In 2008 SDC has introduced networks as “caretakers” of knowledge and competence. Networks imply a particular mode of work, less hierarchical and self-managed. In what ways have the networks led to a changed way of learning? Could SDC secure its competence and operational quality? There are no final answers yet. The networks are developing their particular shapes and modes of sharing and learning. The key challenge remains for SDC and its collaborators: To engage in sharing in a trustful environment, both personally and institutionally. (more…)
After Riff Fullan’s comprehensive contribution on e-collaboration and on its prerequisites, in this blog post Andreas Schöne concentrates on more general terms of information management and on the e-collaboration infrastructure to be expected in the near future for FDFA employees and external partners. (more…)
Today knowledge exchange is based to a great extent on written communication. Sometimes it seems that the ability to visualize ideas, to tell stories through pictures has been lost. Simultaneously we are exposed more than ever to non-verbal modes of communication, especially through photography and film. This post takes the tension between a widespread availability of easy-to-handle visualization tools and their comparatively poor integration into daily work processes as a starting point. In a video interview Anandsaikhan Nyamdavaa, National Programme Officer for SDC in Mongolia, shares with us experiences made by the Cooperation Office when trying to incorporate visual methods into different steps of the project cycle – from the kick-off event through to the report writing. (more…)
In her blog post Nadia von Holzen reflects on the nature of networks, on their constitution, texture and driving force. Networks shouldn’t be taken as rigid entities, they are driven by people and their engagement and are thus propelled by an inner dynamic. Networks grow, evolve and move and it is the network’s members who breathe life into this loose conglomerate transforming it into something similar to a living organism. Therefore networks are pivotal to a learning organization as they comprise essential qualities to manage, transform and generate knowledge. (more…)
Reorganisation in SDC brought fourth a set of new or adapted tools aiming to optimize the impact of SDC’s work. From his personal perspective, a former SDC colleague casts a critical eye on these tools and the capacity of field offices to put them into practice and suggests a series of measures to tackle the related challenges. (more…)
Knowledge Champions in Development Organisations: a Key Way to Promote Knowledge Sharing and Learning?
By Riff Fullan
At an organisational level, efforts to support greater knowledge management and learning can get ‘stuck’ within a mechanistic approach, designing structures or tools when one of the most important things to think about is people and how we can create the right conditions for them to interact in productive ways. The idea of having a variety of staff playing pivotal roles in enabling greater knowledge transfer – in other words, having Knowledge Champions – is one that is well worth exploring as a complement to other institutional knowledge management efforts. (more…)
Collegial Coaching is a process that draws on experiences and practices of professional colleagues in order to share new ideas, teach one another or solve a problem. Watch this entertaining clip to get a clear idea of the mechanisms of this useful tool. Or go to the Learning & Networking Website to get more information on Collegial Coaching.
By Kuno Schläfli and Nadia Lanfranchi
Last week the Democratisation and Local Governance Network (DLGN) and the Multimedia Group of SDC organised a workshop to explore and debate the potentials of incorporating visual methods in development cooperation. It was an occasion to dig deeper into the field, to gain insight on which possibilities open up if new communication technologies are integrated into social processes and projects. Thus, with respect to social reporting as an instrument to report collectively and in real time from face to face conferences or other events, the discussed methodologies go one step further. They aim at involving the real beneficiaries of development projects into the project cycle and seek to give them a voice and to enable others to listen to their stories. (more…)
“If many people from different hierarchies and countries come together there are always those who think they know less about a subject and participate less in the discussion. They may be afraid to say something wrong. To start with personal stories demonstrates that everyone has a valuable experience to share and we can share it in the language we feel comfortable” (reflection of SDC gender team member on using stories in a workshop context, SDC Story Guide, p. 30).
Conscious engagement with storytelling for knowledge sharing and learning began almost 10 years ago within SDC and was pursued with some energy, especially in the first years. (more…)
“The world is changing! Never has the challenge to a sustainable pathway been more urgent than today. Societies need to develop their innovative power. So has development cooperation to adapt. Innovation is key to future Swiss international cooperation.” These were the words of a colleague when he came to my office some weeks back. “Give me some elements for what innovation for SDC should mean and link up with our practice and experiences with innovations” was what he asked us to provide him. Is he looking for the ultimate solution to a better world? Or for the golden eggs SDC should promote? “The statement should be programmatic, if possible told as a story and be at least as far-looking as what the cutting edge technology research in Lausanne or Zurich does!” Magics were expected from us! We immediately wrote to some of our mates asking them what being innovative as an agency would mean to them. What follows has emerged from this exchange. (more…)
HIGHLIGHT: ADMITTING FAILURE
Learning from our and others’ mistakes is – we know it since our primary school teachers first told us – one of the most effective ways of learning. Admitting failure however is never easy, and it certainly is not in the development cooperation world. Donor agencies are restrained to publicly talk about unsuccessful programmes by fiscal responsibility, political pressure and fear for their international reputation, NGOs do not want to put financial support at risk by admitting something did not work out quite as planned, and even down to the very individuals working in our sector who for career reasons do only reluctantly (and certainly not on record) talk about the less successful parts of their projects, this pattern repeats. Due to this lack of exchange about mistakes, the same mistakes are made over and over again, and innovation does not happen where the foundation for it would have been present for years.
The recently launched website Admitting Failure, conceived and created by the Engineers Without Borders Canada, is an attempt to break with this veil of secrecy. Development workers can submit their “failures” and browse the failures of others in order to benefit from the bad experiences that need not be repeated. (more…)
When I first started to think about the topic of this article for the Learning and Networking Blog as a guest author I just could not find a creative idea what to write about. Some weeks before, I had made some notes on a piece of paper, but either not very exciting topics or extremely abstract ones (for the readers). The deadline was approaching and I restarted thinking on possible topics and asked my colleagues in the shared office for a small brainstorming exercise. While we were standing around a small bistro table, drinking a cup of coffee, the idea for this blog post was born. (more…)