The new e-learning platform Project Cycle Management interactive (PCMi) is online. It’s a flexible platform for blended and self-directed learning. Rate your competencies for an individual study plan or access the material for further reading. (more…)
Dynamic Facilitation is a facilitation approach addressing difficult or even complex issues. By taking notes on 4 flip charts the moderator supports the conversation and helps the group to make the shift towards a solution. (more…)
How to prepare memorable presentations? Simplify it and make it visual. Inspiring and memorable presentations are simple, clear and meaningful. While preparing have your audience in mind and make it visual and easy for them to follow. (more…)
A recent lunch event at SDC in Bern sparked some interesting thinking. It featured guest speaker Kerstin Kude-Osman from the Academy for International Cooperation, a part of the German development agency GIZ. Kerstin told us about the recently developed Joint Learning Journey (JLJ) method, which is a way to bring small groups of people involved and interested in a particular set of issues together, to come up with effective and innovative ways of doing things better. (more…)
We were blogging from the Workshop on Rural Development organized by the SDC Eastern & Southern Africa Division in Lilongwe Malawi. (more…)
Videos, podcasts and infographics – are becoming increasingly important in our daily information work. Whether surprising or bold, instructive or combative, they cover different information needs and are very versatile. Have you ever searched for an infographic or a video, which explains a developmental topic easily? And how can it be found at short notice? (more…)
Complex situations resist our analytical capacities, they are unpredictable. In these situations, we cannot base our decisions on data. Hence, our decisions often based on intuition, gut feeling, and rules of thumb. Through continuous learning, we can train our intuition and become better equipped to manage our projects in complex environments. (more…)
Are you planning a face-face meeting to explore key issues and design action plans? The Open Space methodology would definitively be an option.
Read how the key elements of Open Space – the circle, the joint agenda setting, and the free discussion space – could create momentum to advance important issues. (more…)
Dgroups is used as a communication tool within most of SDC’s thematic networks, allowing both the channel of information through newsletters as well as e-discussions among network members. Carsten Schulz from AGRIDEA reflects on his own experience with Dgroups as a tool and his evolution from a sceptical and critical reviewer to an “aficionado” of the newly designed next.Dgroups platform. (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…)
Social Reporting is not new to SDC. In order to render their face-to-face events more participatory, immediate, relevant and accessible several thematic networks made use of the methodology. Yet, implementation practices differ, some networks delegate the realization to external partners, others have mixed teams with reporting professionals and thematic experts. At the face to face of SDC’s Gender Equality Network the whole reporting process has been delegated exclusively to internal resource persons. In this blog post members of the social reporting and the network’s core group present their lessons learnt. (more…)
“Good practice” or even “best practice” are ubiquitous terms in international cooperation, commonly designating one of the keys to successful development work. In SDC, particular network-structures for learning in thematic domains have been conceived to continuously “develop Good Technical Practice”. Yet, what does this mean at all? With today’s article the SDC Knowledge and Learning processes division introduces a new electronic working aid, meant as practical guidance for new SDC-staff, as resourcekit for more experienced ones.
By Michèle Marin
“Good practice” or even “best practice” are ubiquitous terms in international cooperation and the running issue of any Learning Organisation. In SDC, particular network-structures have been conceived to “develop Good Practice” in selected technical areas (e.g. Water, Gender, financial management etc.). Commonly designating one of the keys to successful development work, it is yet hard to seize what the notion implies. Often used in relation with technical competence in a particular thematic area, e.g. the “how to do” in agriculture, it can equally designate more general procedural and methodological quality of interventions.
In fact, the buzz word hides quite a story – let me illustrate it by one… (more…)
Involved in a rethinking process on its institutional learning mechanisms the Swiss Cooperation Office in Chisinau made use of the Knowledge Management workshop for SDC field staff and local partners. This training on demand offered by the SDC Knowledge and Learning Processes Division aims at sharing and raising awareness for SDC’s Knowledge Management practices. In today’s blog post the staff of the SCO Chisinau offers insights gained in this two-day training. (more…)
Black and white, water and fire, ying and yang, Outcome Mapping and Logical Framework – is it really like this? Corinne Sprecher from the International Team at AGRIDEA discusses in her blog post the attitude of individuals towards two opposing concepts. With the example of Outcome Mapping and Logical Framework Approach she shows, how the process of dealing with the polarities could look like. And how the eagerness to see the positive aspects of two poles could enhance (an unexpected) learning, of searching for complementarities, combined with the great potential for creating new ideas and new solutions. (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…)
When working with partners there often comes up the need to work together and simultaneously on one single document. Exchanging the document by e-mail frequently ends up in a chaotic flip-flopping of dateless versions. Updating the different new contents is a tedious and time-consuming task. Collaboration software like SharePoint or DMS and web solutions such as Google Docs help to avoid such pitfalls. Watch the video below to learn more about this established collaboration tool. (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…)
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…)
by Kuno Schläfli, Romana Tedeschi, Katharina Walker, Michael Reimann, Matthias Boss, and Adrian Gnägi
SDC used to be structured as a matrix organization. Operational geographic units managed funds and local context, technical units managed thematic knowledge, and together they were thought to implement effective projects. This setup became perceived to have improvement potential. In 2008, technical units were replaced by learning and exchange networks. One of the justifications for this move was that guidance and policies elaborated by the technical units were sometimes perceived to be too abstract, too general, not enough evidence based. One of the expectations towards the newly created networks therefore was that their guidance should look, feel, and act differently – “experience based good practice” was the orientation received. This post documents one of the first attempts by one of the new networks to distill “experience based good practice”.
SDC’s “decentralization and local governance network” (dlgn) met for its first-ever face-to-face encounter in November 2009 in Delhi. (more…)
As in her first post (cf. 17 July), Corinne Sprecher, Agridea/Team International, went to further look for champions who consciously apply knowledge management-tools in their work. In this article she relates and reflects on experiences regarding learning from one’s own experience.
by Corinne Sprecher
In this second post, SDC staff members share with us some more of their experiences and lessons of applying Knowledge Management Tools in daily life. This time the focus is laid on learning from one’s own and others’ experience. (more…)