Applying Knowledge Management Tools at Work -SDC staff members share their experiences (2)

August 16, 2011 | bit-wartung | Methods & Tools, SDC Experiences |


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Corinne-SprecherAs 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.

Whenever we face challenges, it is a (hopefully) natural and important step to look back and reflect on one’s own experience; and to look around and search for others’ experience. This can be done in a in a quick moment of reflection and learning in the team, be it during or upon a key event, or in a broader and more in depth learning process on its own. Different tools can be helpful for such situations, below 4 ideas from the KM Toolkit – applied by 4 SDC staff members.
You want to learn more about the tools? Click on the titles to read the description. 

Collegial Coaching applied by Peter Beez to reflect one’s own experience while learning from and with colleagues:

“I was astonished how easily a value added can be brought to the team with this tool in a short time and without having a specific expert in the group, just three people: one with a specific request, one that brings in similar experience and one facilitator.”
Peter Beez, Cooperation Office Managua 

SWOT applied by Andreas Gerrits for reflection within a moment fort:

“We applied SWOT for a midterm review of a programme on combating desertification in Mongolia. The relatively simple SWOT grid guided and structured the disscussions and the deriving of recommendations by the review team. By applying SWOT it was possible to use the same grid for all of the four very diverse components of this comprehensive programme and to reach a shared view and understanding.”
Andreas Gerrits, East Asia Division

Debriefing applied by Lukas Frey for reflecting one’s experience after a moment fort and for initiating change thereafter:

“For me a personal debriefing is a crucial tool for transforming the high energy level of a moment fort – like a workshop – into an ongoing process. The implementation of decisions taken and the way forward can be clearly addressed again in a small group. For the timing I recommend: At least one night’s sleep between the event and the debriefing assures a reasonable distance to the event.”
Lukas Frey, Eastern and Southern Africa Division

 A more extensive form of an Experience Capitalization process as experienced by David Keller

“In the course of an experience capitalization process of a public private development partnership, I realized that the consultant I contracted was unable to deliver the capitalization himself, not really understanding what SDC was intending to learn. Instead, I found that his report rather mirrored the mind-set of a fact finding mission or evaluation. However, based on his “report on found facts”, I involved my colleagues in a reflection process on how to interpret and what to learn from them, which ended in a SDC reflection paper. I guess the institution profited more this way, as we really engaged in the learning process ourselves and produced an interesting piece of knowledge.”
David Keller, Institutional Partnership Division

When reading the four statements above, for me some principle aspects about learning become apparent:

  • The core of reflection and learning is someone with a question, as well as someone with relevant experience and knowledge. Learning starts with a learner’s question and one’s own or other’s experience to be fed into the process.
  • Structure as given by SWOT or Collegial Coaching supports the learning process
  • Learning, for example in a moment fort, is not an end in itself, but a contribution to a process leading to improved practices and change. A debriefing as described by Lukas Frey can be crucial for this.
  • And finally, who drives a learning process if not the learner him- or herself? The experience by David Keller might seem like a compromise that luckily led to a satisfactory result in the end. But in fact, doesn’t it reflect one of the vital aspects of such a process: To what extent can a learning and reflection process be outsourced? What role can a consultant play, if SDC wants to learn from its own experience?

For the full SDC Knowledge Management Toolkit and further products visit the SDC Learning & Networking Shareweb.
The SDC Knowledge Management Toolkit is equally available in 3 Print-variations: a comprehensive brochure in English; a handy compilation, the Vademecum, and a creditcard-size-set of each method, both in German, English, French and Spanish.


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