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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Meta-analyses of organisational strategies for KM

RKMDThe first issue of the Knowledge Management for Development Journal to be published by Routledge (Volume 5, Issue 1, 2009) has now appeared, focusing on the subject of KM in organisations. Guest editors of this issue comprised Ewen Le Borgne, Catherine Vaillancourt-Laflamme and Ivan Kulis. The issue has been produced in the context of the Information and Knowledge Management Emergent Research Programme (IKM Emergent) Continue reading

KM4D stretching its wings

Good news for KM4D as a formal discipline. Emerging from under the wings of big sisters KM and development science, it is starting to establish itself as a field in its own right. Over the past year, knowledge management for development has been increasingly making its appearance in academia. Various people* are conducting post-doctoral research on various KM4D related topics, which will help generate some in-depth insight into the field. But moreover, KM4D is being taught at undergraduate, graduate and even postgraduate level as a specific course, module, tutorial or lecture. At an academic level, the topic covers a broad array of disciplines – ranging from development studies, geography, medicine, business administration, management studies and cross cutting fields. This may contribute to a new generation of well-informed, broadly oriented young professionals and researchers who have the ability to think out of their academic box, and beyond borders… And should help build up concrete evidence for policymakers and decision-makers, of the added value and importance of knowledge to development. Add to this the multi-level IKM Emergent programme, the KM4D Journal, which has published over 100 contributions since its inception, and we see increasing evidence that a formal scientific domain is slowly emerging from the practice.

minerva, Auguste Rodin (1905-07)
Minerva, Auguste Rodin (1905-07)

* [current research being undertaken by Ben Ramamlingam, Lorraine Mancey, Sarah Cummings, Julie Ferguson. Anyone else??? Let us know!] Continue reading


The AIM newsletter had an interesting announcement, introducing a new research programme for technology and management for development. Based at Oxford University, the programme connects two fields that are of great importance to KM4D – technology and management – and explores the theoretical implications for development. This is a nice initiative, first, because it is introducing development into mainstream management discourse. Second, because it explores the technology implications for management in development. As such it looks beyond the ICT4D discourse which sometimes has a tendency to focus too much on the technology side, and, like KM4D, often neglects important managerial aspects: what knowledge is critical to the organization´s mission and objectives, how should organizational processes be arranged to maximize the flow of this knowledge, and (only then) which technologies can be called upon to support this. With such a holistic view, we can start thinking about ‘more effective development’.

The new ‘T&M4D’ programme is very new so the website is still in development, but it does contain a number of interesting working papers.