At the IKM table: linearity, participation, accountability and individual agency on the practice-based change menu (1)

(Originally posted on KM for me… and You?)

On 20 and 21 February 2012, the  London-based Wellcome Collection is the stage for the final workshop organised by the Information Knowledge Management Emergent (IKM-Emergent or ‘IKM-E’) programme. Ten IKM-E members are looking at the body of work completed in the past five years in this DGIS-funded research programme and trying to unpack four key themes that are interweaving the work of the three working groups which have been active in the programme:

  1. Linearity and predictability;
  2. Participation and engagement;
  3. Individual agency and organisational remit;
  4. Accountability

This very rich programme is also a tentative intermediary step towards a suggested extension for the programme.

In this post I’m summarising quite a few of the points mentioned during the first day of the workshop, covering the first two points on the list above.

On linearity and predictability:

Linear approaches to development – suggesting that planning is a useful exercise to map out and follow a predictable causal series of events – are delusional and ineffective and we have other perspectives that can help plan with a higher degree of realism, if not certainty.

Linearity and predictability strongly emphasise the current (and desired alternative) planning tools that we have at our disposal or are sometimes forced to use, and the relation that we entertain with the actors promoting these specific planning tools.

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KMIC 2: Entering the challenge

After the webinar I was inspired to enter the KMIC challenge by adding the story of the IKM Emergent evaluation by Chris Mowles and Anita Gurumurthy to the growing collection of stories. It was the last day for entries – so it was a bit of a rush – but you can read the story Taking a complexity perspective to evaluation here. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

Evaluation revisited II: complexity and evaluation in a cleft stick?

 

We are squeezed to death, between the two sides of that sort of alternative which is commonly called a cleft stick.
(William Cowper, 1782)

In the second of my personal reflections on the Evaluation revisited conference which took place in May 2010 in Utrecht, The Netherlands, I consider the relationship between complexity and evaluation, particularly theory and practice, and talk about the cartoonist, present at the conference. Continue reading

Evaluation revisited I: rigorous vs. vigorous

At the end of May 2010, I attended – along with 150+ others, largely evaluation practitioners  – the two-day conference on Evaluation revisited: improving the quality of evaluative practice by embracing complexity in Utrecht, The Netherlands. It has its own website here with more detailed information of the programme, presentations etc. This is the first part of my personal reflections on the conference which is part of a series of recent, development focused events on complexity which include the July 2009 workshop on How can complexity theory contribute to more effective development and aid evaluation? held at Panos in London, UK.

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