sdclan


 

Innovation – the essence of learning in a changing world

June 29, 2011 Manuel Flury Learning Elsewhere

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Manuel picture for sdclanBy Manuel Flury

 “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…)

Learning & Networking News (March 2011)

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

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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…)

How do I generate ideas? How do others do it?

January 26, 2011 Manuel Flury Learning Elsewhere

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Carsten Schulz
Carsten Schulz, AGRIDEA

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…)