NEWS & TRENDS October 2012

October 09, 2012 bit-wartung Learning Elsewhere

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The next week’s NeuroLeadership Summet in New-York. A brain friendly f2f meeting. (more…)

One Face to Face Meeting, One Topic – Experiences from the SDC Health Network

July 24, 2012 LND SDC Networks

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How many topics should a face-to-face meeting put on the agenda? The participants of the SDC Health network explored during their 2nd face-to-face meeting one topic: Health Promotion. With this decision for one key discussion topic the meeting had a clear focus; this allowed for in-depth discussions.

Debora_KernAndreas_LoebellLuca_Fasnacht (more…)

Touch Ground – the Value Added of a Field Visit in a Face to Face Meeting

April 25, 2012 Blog-Admin1 SDC Experiences

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Nadia von Holzen Barbara_Affolter Ursula_Koenig
During the 2nd day of its face to face the SDC network Migration and Development left the meeting room to visit activities in relation to migration in Dhaka. This blog post outlines why and how the “dive” into the context and confrontation with different perspectives can accelerate and nurture the network’s conversation (deliberations, dialogue). (more…)

The Joy and the Pain of E-Collaboration

March 28, 2012 LND Methods & Tools, SDC Experiences

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Riff FullanE-collaboration has been around since computer networks were invented, but of course our increasing interconnectedness presents more opportunities for us to do it, and to do so with a greater variety of tools. What is e-collaboration? A brief way to describe it is working together to produce something (a document, a position, a decision) using electronic media. It is easy to get lost among the tools, but successful e-collaboration is much more about the people who are involved and how their interaction is facilitated, than it is about the technologies used. (more…)

Good Practice: Reflecting on the Guide on Roles and Responsibilities within Networks

January 31, 2012 LND Methods & Tools, SDC Networks

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Nara Weigel

For her third blog post on the good practice guides to managing and supporting networks, Nara Weigel collected reactions on the guide Roles and Responsibilities within Networks. In a nutshell, the guide examines why roles are important to consider in the context of SDC networks and describes what main roles and responsibilities have developed within these networks. Without going in to the specificities of each SDC network, it tries to outline key elements for ensuring good collaboration within a network. (more…)

Good Practice: the SDC Experience with Nurturing Networks and Membership Management

January 03, 2012 LND Methods & Tools, SDC Networks

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By Nara Weigel

NaraIn her first blog post A Treasure of SDC Experiences in Managing and Supporting Networks: 7 Guides to Make it your Own, Nara Weigel presented the interlinked good practice guides available on the website of the Learning and Networking Division. This blog post, explores two of the guides in more detail: nurturing networks and managing the membership of SDC networks. Two users of the guides share their first reactions, personal reflections and further lessons from their daily work as network focal point and backstopper. (more…)

A Treasure of SDC Experiences in Managing and Supporting Networks: 7 Guides to Make it your Own

November 08, 2011 LND Methods & Tools, SDC Networks

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By Nara Weigel, Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation

NaraWhy Good Practice Guides on Managing and Supporting Networks?

Three years after thematic networks were created within SDC, the Learning and Networking team felt it was a good moment to capitalise the organisation’s experience in supporting networks and make collective learning available to a broader audience. This was done in form of seven interlinked mini guides (illustrated below) on e-facilitation, nurturing networks, roles and responsibilities within networks, managing membership, linking face to face (f2f) events and online dialogues, social reporting on f2f events and planning f2f events. The choice of issues shows that the guides are not only relevant for network Focal Points and Steering Group members, but also for other people working at or with SDC. The guides can be viewed online or downloaded as pdf files from the website of the Learning and Networking Division. (more…)

Experience documentation on e-discussion campaigns with consolidated replies: A dlgn learning project on donor support for local government finances

August 02, 2011 Adrian Gnägi Methods & Tools

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Bertha Camacho for sdclanAdrian picture for sdclan

by Bertha Camacho and Adrian Gnägi

Solution Exchange pioneered a structured way to conduct e-discussions, called “e-discussion campaigns with consolidated replies”. The structure of those e-discussions looks like this:

  • A query is posted on the e-forum of a network and experience carriers are invited to post replies within a pre-determined time frame. Frequently, the moderator supports members with the wording of the query, making sure the query is short, easy to understand and appealing to be answered.
  • Moderators lobby experienced network members to post replies in the e-forum. This lobbying is worked mostly over the phone. According to Solution Exchange, it is the major time investment of the e-moderator.
  • When the discussion campaign is over, the e-moderator sums up the discussion in a “consolidated reply”. The e-moderator condenses the main messages into an easy-to-understand analytical summary and includes all individual contributions in full into the document.

This post reflects on the first “e-discussion campaign with consolidated replies” conducted by SDC’s “decentralization and local governance” network (dlgn) (more…)

E-facilitation – Facilitation gone online. How to smite the bite! Part 2

July 05, 2011 bit-wartung Learning Elsewhere

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Olivia Hartmann II swIn the first part of this blog I looked at e-faciliation and how it compares to face to face facilitation. For this second part I asked myself, what are the strengths and weaknesses of the online situation and what would be the content of a twenty minutes crash-course on “the specifics of online facilitaiton”. And as a round-up of both blog posts on e-facilitaiton I share my thoughts on the future prospects of facilitation in cyberspace. (more…)

E-facilitation – Facilitation gone online. How to smite the bite!

June 08, 2011 Manuel Flury Methods & Tools

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Olivia Hartmann II swBy Olivia Hartmann, AGRIDEA
The e-factor is omnipresent in the West and increasingly also in other parts of the world. It has become difficult to imagine a life without it.
BUT – the e-factor in facilitation
is actually a rather recent development.
A look at a young skill and how to skillfully use it for learning and exchange – Part I. 


Looking at the history of the development of communication means I came to realize what a recent development the internet and with that e-facilitation actually is! E-Facilitation  – the art of sucessfully planning and guiding online interactions of various kinds and with a wide variety of purposes – has existed for barely 15 years. (more…)

Communities of Practice: The Institutionalisation of Informality

January 05, 2011 bit-wartung SDC Experiences

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Tobias SommerBy Tobias Sommer
Communities of practice in their traditional definition are every manager’s dream: on individual initiative, experts form informal communities out of pure interest in a subject to exchange their experiences, talk about new challenges and learn from each other, pushing their field forward and developing new solutions. Ideally, all of this would happen alongside normal work, stay out of organisational structures and employment agreements, costing the company not time nor money nor energy – sort of a holy grail of knowledge management.

Sadly, as with anything that seems too good to be true, this hasn’t worked for a long time. In many organisations and companies, informal networks have lost their drive for several reasons, (more…)

Learning & Networking News (December 2010)

December 15, 2010 bit-wartung Methods & Tools

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In this visually stunning animation video, Steven Johnson reflects on where ideas com from and in what environments they are stimulated or restrained.

found via

The Black Box of Governmental Learning – A Conversation with Raoul Blindenbacher

October 13, 2010 bit-wartung Learning Elsewhere

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sdclan_bigBy Tobias Sommer
Good governance is one of the keys to contemporary development cooperation: It is considered the magic solution that allows developing countries to make the big step ahead. It sounds simple—yet it is obviously complicated to achieve. It needs the political will to promote good governance through possibly far-reaching reform, the knowledge about how to do it, and especially that governments learn from their own or others’ experiences. Just providing information and instructions to governments does not suffice for this: They also have to transform the acquired knowledge into action. Unfortunately, this crucial transformation process is far from understood. After all, a government, with its complex composition of actors and political environment, cannot be expected to learn and behave like an individual or an ordinary organization.

In the recent World Bank publication The Black Box of Governmental Learning (Executive Summary PDF), Raoul Blindenbacher1 (in collaboration with Bidjan Nashat) sheds some light on this question. I had the opportunity to talk to Raoul Blindenbacher (RB) and get some answers to questions that had emerged while I was reading his book. (more…)

f2f-meetings of SDC networks – lessons to be learned (II)

October 05, 2010 bit-wartung SDC Networks

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Michèle picture for sdclanBy Michèle Marin
By now, a series of the SDC networks have come up with their first international f2f meetings. Their experiences reveal a few recurrent lessons to  be learned, and trigger questions on how to best manage a f2f event. The SDC Learning & Networking team reflects upon them in a loose series of blog posts. This second post considers implications of the 1/3 principle (cf. post I, Sept.8) on planning a f2f, and explores concepts suitable to meet upcoming participants’ needs during a meeting. (more…)

Learning & Networking News (August 2010)

August 18, 2010 Manuel Flury Methods & Tools

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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…)

Networks, f2f and promoting participation – the Helvetas experience

July 06, 2010 bit-wartung Learning Elsewhere

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Riff für sdclanWhy should you bother for participatory methodologies in f2f meetings of networks, if frontal plenary sessions seem to be so much easier to organise? The value added does not only concern the atmosphere and output of a f2f meeting itself, but also the way network-members will collaborate virtually beyond the meeting.
Riff Fullan, knowledge coordinator at Helvetas, shares with us his reflections on the Helvetas experience in network facilitation.

Face-to-face meetings of SDC networks: What have we learned so far?

June 23, 2010 Adrian Gnägi SDC Networks

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Adrian picture for sdclanBy Adrian Gnägi

This is the first post in a series focusing on network face-to-face events.

In October 2008 SDC changed its organizational structure: the former geographical/thematic matrix structure was changed into a single line operational structure. Thematic networks were created to exchange and capitalize experience. Until May 2010, 4 of the new networks had held their first face-to-face (f2f) meeting. This post sketches 6 issues which merit reflection when preparing and planning for future f2f events: