KMIC 1: Webinar on monitoring and evaluation of KM

Last week, I attended my first webinar – a seminar on the web – which was organised by the Knowledge Management Impact Challenge (KMIC) and the Society for International Development (SID) in Washington DC. Louise Daniels, working for the Challenge, posted some information here about the KMIC a few weeks ago.

I’ve never been to a webinar before – or any virtual conference which may seem a bit surprising – so it was a new experience for me. Actually, I was rather sceptical about the form although I had high hopes of the content. But, in reality and for lots of reasons, it was a wonderful experience.

First of all, the subject was really interesting – monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of knowledge – and the content was great. There were presentations by IKM colleagues, Simon Hearn, Valerie Brown and Ewen le Borgne, who talked about their work on M&E of knowledge, and also about previous work on this subject, particularly papers written by Joitske Hulsebosch and colleagues on Monitoring and evaluating knowledge management strategies and Serafin Talisayon on Monitoing and evaluation of knowledge management for development. This was followed by an update from Marie-Ange Binagwaho, Louise Clark and Norma Garza of the findings to date on the KMIC. Main findings comprise:

  • Stronger stories are those that incorporated M&E from the beginning of processes and / or used M&E assessment to generate actionable data which informed project development.
  • Assessment processes designed to promote learning and improvement are stronger than those which respond to reporting requirements
  • Simplicity is key, too much data makes things confusing
  • There is some ambiguity between KM / M&E because both require information exchange and both are strengthened by functional feedback loops
I was very enthusiastic about the content but the form was great too. The seminar took place in the evening, European time, so I was sitting at home, with a headset. Although I couldn’t be heard – as an ordinary participant – it was possible to ask questions via a chat field and, indeed, one of my questions was even asked and answered. The sound was good, the visuals were supporting the content and, even better, no-one knew that my children were being noisy in the background or that I was sipping a glass of wine with my feet up. For me, it was a perfect way to engage and learn about the issues without the distractions of the office. As a footnote, I’m used to noisy children.
The webinar generated a lot of interest of twitter, and I was particularly interested in a tweet from Peter Ballatnyne:
Like @ithorpe wondering how presentations at #KMImpact and IKM webinar apply to my practical knowledge sharing work. Another webinar maybe?
I think this is a good point and something with which we are grappling at IKM Emergent. Out of this concern has come an initiative on Practice-based change which we are currently developing with Hannah Beardon, Ewen le Borgne, Mare Fort and others – which looks at the implications of the findings of IKM research directly in practice. One of the areas which we will be focusing on will be M&E, along with the implications of complexity and emergence, using and supporting local language processes, and also traducture. By the way, I’ll write another blog post on traducture as when I googled it, I only found a link to IKM Newsletter No. 3.
In the meantime, this tweet from Peter Ballantyne got me thinking about multiple knowledges – presented by Valerie at the webinar – and wondering about the relevance of this perspective for knowledge sharing practice. I think it is very relevant because it reminds us that there are many different sorts of knowledges with different values and different prejudices, and much more. Yet another blog post perhaps?

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