Value-creation stories for monitoring the value of networks

November 01, 2016 Leonie Pock Methods & Tools

Rating: 4.3 out of 5

Beverly Wenger-TraynerIn 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




Joint Learning on Pastoralism – a process of experience capitalization among SDC Programme Officers

March 03, 2016 Leonie Pock Methods & Tools, SDC Experiences

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Manuel Flury 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


Documenting the process: The long road to a good story

December 23, 2015 Blog-Admin1 Let's Talk Visual, Methods & Tools, SDC Experiences, SDC Networks

Rating: 4.6 out of 5

Hynek X-masThis 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…)

Beneficiary Assessment Revisited: where does it fit?

February 05, 2014 Blog-Admin1 Methods & Tools, SDC Experiences

Rating: none

Riff FullanIt sounds wonderful: gaining real insight into the impact of a project from the point of view of intended beneficiaries! But can it satisfy the needs of development organisations to assess and report on the work they support? The answer is yes. A Beneficiary Assessment  isn’t always going to be the right thing to do, but it can provide valuable evidence relating to project outcomes and impact.

By Riff Fullan, Helvetas


Ideas for a more agile practice of learning lessons

October 02, 2013 bit-wartung Learning Elsewhere, SDC Experiences

Rating: 4.3 out of 5

The KM4dev discussion: Lessons Learned – The Loch Ness Monster of KM made us think about our own practice of drawing and using lessons learnt. Our conclusion: We need a more agile practice of drawing and using lessons learnt.

By Manuel Etter and Nadia von Holzen, SDC

Lessons Learnt


Questions and Answers live – the Expert Panel “on the floor”

August 07, 2013 bit-wartung Methods & Tools

Rating: 4.0 out of 5

The “Expert panel on the floor”- Method can resolve open questions, alternatively to the expert panel and the fish bowl. The major asset of this method is the engagement of every participant’s knowledge in the solution finding. (more…)

Participatory Project Assessment: Strengthening the Stakeholder Link

June 05, 2013 bit-wartung Methods & Tools, SDC Experiences

Rating: none

Participatory project assessment (also known as Beneficiary Assessment) holds the promise of moving evaluation closer to primary stakeholders: the individuals, communities and organisations in the local project context. Is it an effective tool to do this? (more…)

Two good examples how networks support the result orientation of development programmes

May 29, 2013 bit-wartung SDC Experiences, SDC Networks

Rating: none

Networks and result orientation of development programmes? Yes! While the network members are busy with result monitoring and reporting the networks are well positioned to gain an overview and to support this task. Two networks developed reference indicators in their domain of expertise. Result reporting is a great entry point to feed the networks’ learning back into the operations. (more…)

The SDC Learning & Networking Blog: less reading – less writing – more talking

January 09, 2013 bit-wartung Methods & Tools

Rating: none

By Nadia von Holzen, SDC 

A blog is conversation. We want to make the reading as well as the writing of the SDC Learning & Networking Blog faster to have time for the conversation.


Participatory Video: A Route to Strengthening Voices?

October 23, 2012 bit-wartung Methods & Tools

Rating: none

Riff FullanParticipatory Video has been around for almost 50 years, and is resurfacing as an area of interest for development practitioners. This is partly fuelled by increased accessibility of technologies for self-made videos. In this Blog, Riff Fullan from Helvetas shows what PV does have to offer those who are interested in promoting greater engagement of people whose lives are most affected by emerging global economic, environmental, political and social realities. Let’s have a look… (more…)

The Horizontal Learning Program is like Real Life Facebook

October 16, 2012 bit-wartung SDC Experiences

Rating: none

Tommaso TabetHorizontal learning enables communities to share best practices within and across communities. In this blog post Tommaso Tabet, SDC agency in Dhaka, in collaboration with engaged HLP Friends, explain that it is a tool for sharing good practices, replicating and liking them, and therefore has much in common with the world’s most popular social media. (more…)

How I fell in love with next Dgroups

September 19, 2012 Blog-Admin1 Methods & Tools

Rating: none

Carsten Schulz

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…)

Social Reporting – Behind the Scenes

September 11, 2012 LND Methods & Tools

Rating: none

CarmenRiffNadiaNaraSocial 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…)

Strolling along the Border between Implicit and Explicit Knowledge Management

June 12, 2012 LND Methods & Tools

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Ernst BolligerMake implicit knowledge explicit und thus accessible to everybody! This is a request I often come across dealing with knowledge management issues. In how far is this possible? Kitchen recipes make it clear: Basic knowledge and skills can be described, but what about mastery skills? There are limits in transforming implicit into explicit knowledge. (more…)

Integrating KM in the Ukrainian Public Administration – Some Lessons Learnt

February 14, 2012 LND Learning Elsewhere

Rating: 4.7 out of 5

Bertha CamachoMaryana KulyaIn this post, we would like to share how the Swiss – Ukrainian Decentralization Support Project (DESPRO), a SDC funded project imple-mented by Skat Consulting is starting to introduce Knowledge Management (KM) in the Ukrainian Public Administration and to reflect on some important lessons learnt so far. (more…)

Distillation of „experience based good practices“

September 06, 2011 Adrian Gnägi SDC Experiences

Rating: none


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…)

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

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

Rating: none

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. (more…)

Social Reporting – SDC Lessons to be Learned

March 29, 2011 Adrian Gnägi Methods & Tools

Rating: none

Adrian picture for sdclan

by Adrian Gnägi

SDC has been experimenting with Social Reporting for roughly 2 years now (see two earlier blog posts by Tobias and by Adrian). After the latest experience with the meeting of SDC’s “decentralization and local governance” network (dlgn) in Sarajevo in March 2011, we think we are ready for mainstreaming. Below please find some of our main “lessons to be learned”.

Who should report?

The basic idea behind social reporting is that “all” participants in an event should report, thereby providing for polyphonic narration and democratic representation. While I fully endorse the value position this concept is based on, we found serious practical constraints when trying to implement it. There are attention & time use tensions & trade-offs between “participation” and “reporting”: social reporting turned out to mostly be night work. When disentangling issues, we realized that in using video reporting, voice can be separated from reporting work. Our current thinking therefore is that not everybody should be pushed to report on everything using all reporting media, rather: (more…)

Learning & Networking News (March 2011)

March 01, 2011 bit-wartung Learning Elsewhere, Methods & Tools

Rating: none


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…)

Scaling-up and replication – seen through “learning lenses”

February 16, 2011 Manuel Flury SDC Experiences

Rating: none

Manuel picture for sdclan

  By Manuel Flury







I     A Peer Assist Workshop in Sarajevo – Learning with partners

In a three days workshop in Sarajevo in April 2009, the programme staff of the SDC Country Office met with colleagues of three partner organisations. The Cooperation Strategy 2009-2012 for Bosnia and Herzegovina focuses on capitalizing on acquired expertise and to profit from past investments made and strategic assets accumulated. Capitalising and documenting experiences has been the rational of the workshop. It looked at “disseminating” project achievements in a “new way”: to promote and to facilitate learning and change on larger levels of the society (scaling-up) and/or in comparable contexts (replication). The peer assist allowed the participants to learn from others: how can they facilitate societal change in their fields of primary health care, water resources management and municipal governance and administration. 

There was consensus:
Facilitating societal change – learning from project experiences – requires time and patience and a high degree of professionalism in facilitating process and harmonisation among actors. (more…)

Learning & Networking News (August 2010)

August 18, 2010 Manuel Flury Methods & Tools

Rating: none


By the end of 2009 and after 40 years, SDC closed down its bilateral cooperation programme in Ecuador. The phasing-out started in 2006. The closure was planned “to be responsible, creative, and required the multiplication of successful effects and the highest levels of impact and sustainability. The capitalisation of the Ecuadorian experience has been considered as a primary objective within the Knowledge Mangement plan and the communication strategy.” You find the SDC Ecuador phasing out portal (in spanish). The virtual library includes an english  Summary report “Local actors: The true Protagonists of their own Development”. (more…)