The second get-together of the group brought 19 participants. After establishing the value and outcomes of this group in their first get-together, in January 2012, participants identified three topics to address this time, prepared by volunteers.

A)     What is knowledge management

Gashaw Kebede (AAU) prepared a presentation on the conceptualization of KM, covering the knowledge / KM and ‘KM for dev’ dichotomies, leaving us with different possible definitions. Gashaw pointed: the important aspect is to define a convention for a group of people that have to work together on/with KM and stick to it, and it might be beneficial to develop an organizational KM strategy.

 

Main group discussion insights:

  • No definition fits us all. It is difficult to choose a strategy (focus on outputs? people?): we sometimes feel clueless and wonder if a definition is not useless;
  • We are all aware of the importance of KM but: how to go about it?
  • KM is broad: How to make it explicit?
  • Quite some definitions focus on managing knowledge and implementing plans;
  • KM definitions are always contextual;
  • Perhaps there is a way to include all the different elements from various KM definitions into one comprehensive definition?

We agreed that this conversation could continue on the Facebook group page.

 

B)      Mapping of ICT/KM projects

Fanos Mekonnen (ILRI) and Metadel Lemma(IICD) prepared a presentationgiven by Metadel. This concerns an inventory of information and communication technology for development (ICT4D) projects that are currently functional across the country, so as to share lessons across projects / collaborate. ICT here means web, radio, mobile etc. Ultimately this project should develop a to map all these projects. The challenge here is to carry out this project with limited capacity.

 

We discussed: what should we really focus on (emphasize or include) and how to do it?

Focus:

  • Outcomes and impact (rate of success of these projects);
  • Mechanisms for sharing lessons;
  • Focus on KM projects too, not just ICT projects;
  • Which services are being developed / used where?
  • Commercial and non-commercial projects;

How to carry this out:

  • Develop a central/accessible place to access this information – with possibility to upload info onto it;
  • Do other similar initiatives (or information) exist?
  • Consider the projects’ scale of impact (scaling up potential ?)
  • Carry out target groups’ needs assessment;
  • Carry out project impact assessment;
  • Each of our organization to contribute information about ‘champion’ projects we know.

Next steps?

A little group (Metadel, Fanos, Hermella, Elias, Addis and Ewen) will take this work forward and suggest a template to list all the items to collect for each project, take into account the comments made and recommends how to go about it (ideally start the work) by the next get-together.

 

C)      Introducing social media

Tsehay Gashaw gave a general introduction to social media, what they are (media for social interactions), what they can do (looking at some of the main tools e.g. Facebook, Twitter, blogs, wikis, Delicious, Slideshare) and how one can use them in projects and ongoing work, i.e beyond individual work. She also dwelled a bit more on wikis to explain how they can help project teams document all discussions and strands of work, prepare and document events etc. We didn’t have enough time to have a real ‘hands-on’ session about wikis but agreed to postpone that to the next get-together.

This part of the meeting inspired the group to showcase the KM/ICT/Social media approach of each of our organisations (one at a time), to start with IFPRI at the next get-together.

 

Review of the meeting

What went well in this second get-together: the engaging and very interactive nature of the meeting. What to improve for the next session:

  • More time! Quarterly meetings leave too little time for interactions;
  • Sharing Twitter accounts among participants;
  • Expanding the network and developing/sharing group objectives and goals.

 

The next get-together

The next get-together is tentatively scheduled for late June and will take place at either: a) the SNV office, b) the UN campus or c) the ILRI campus.

Topics suggested:

  • A hands-on session on social media;
  • Follow up on the ICT-KM project overview;
  • A peer-assist case: one person can present a concrete problem they are facing to pick the brains of others in the group;
  • IFPRI to present their KM/social media work;

As an advice, it might be good to spread the word and bring a colleague that might be interested next time around.

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