Knowledge Management workshop, Namibia

The largest IKM event of 2009 was the Knowledge for Development workshop jointly organised with the Centre for Technical Assistance and the University of Namibia in November.  The goal of the conference was to raise awareness of the importance of understanding the role of knowledge in development and to discuss what understandings of knowledges were most relevant to contemporary challenges of Southern Africa. Both aims were realised.  The conference received considerable attention in the local media, including an hour long debate on the main current affairs TV show. 

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Methodological paradigms of the M&E of KM

I’ve been working on a small section of our paper on the monitoring and evaluation of KM (see Ewen’s earlier blog) and wanted to share some emerging ideas. The section is attempting to communicate IKMs epistemological perspective by introducing two dimensions (originally described by Chris Mowles in his comments on Ewen’s blog): the perspective of enquiry and the perspective of knowledge held by the evaluator (monitor). This is fairly abstract at the moment but do let me know if this is (1) accurate (I’m not a philosopher or even a social scientist) and (2) useful…

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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

Measuring the impact of KM

How to monitor and evaluate the impact of knowledge management initiatives? This is the central question of the study for Working Group 3. An intriguing and important question worth further research. On this blog we will share our insights and thoughts on this subject with you. Where to start? It appears important to be clear from the outset on what we mean with monitoring and evaluation on the one hand, and knowledge management initiatives on the other. And how do we see the context, the development paradigm we are working in? Continue reading

WG 3 theoretical framework and the O word

In the recent workshop in Cambridge, we WG3 members had an interesting discussion that took a lot of time in the morning of our third and last day, and it all started as we were thinking:

Now that we know who we are, what others are doing in IKM Emergent, what multiple knowledges could mean and what we have agreed to work on in this group, let’s zoom in on how to achieve our objectives.

Quickly there we stumbled on the achy concept of ‘organisations’. Now why a generic term such as ‘organisations’ should be a problem? It is vague enough to comprise a variety of different bodies. Continue reading

Golden week slum tip – Multiple knowledges?

Multiple knowledges, what does it mean to us?

The IKM emergent programme is concerned with a number of issues but one of its central premises, and perhaps where it’s biggest added value resides, is the concept of multiple knowledges, and how to take them into account when developing IKM interventions.

On the first day of the annual IKM working groups’ meeting in Cambridge, working group 3 tried to unpack this core concept that will shape IKM Emergent work in the four-year period to come.

As a starting point, our group tried to make sense of signals we had sensed re: the concept of multiple knowledges, i.e. what we understood was the underlying idea behind and what it could mean for IKM Emergent’s work.

Random associations came to our mind: Power relations, power structures, multiple realities, world views i.e. between individuals, group knowledge, community of practice etc. Who is deciding what is knowledge or what is relevant knowledge?

Multiple knowledges, multiple worldvies, how to create space for them in development interventions

Multiple knowledges, multiple worldviews, how to create space for them in development interventions and how to connect them?

Thanks to our ever inspired Valerie Brown, we continued our discussion based on a series of research activities in several hundreds of Western communities, which identified five different constructions of knowledge:

  1. Individual knowledge
  2. Local community knowledge
  3. Specialised knowledge
  4. Organisational knowledge (also related to political knowledge);
  5. Holistic knowledge

These constructs relate to learning styles and provide various systems of rating the relevance of knowledge sources.

From there we tried to identify key dimensions of knowledge which could influence one’s worldview (and as such would hint at the multiple knowledges we are concerned with):

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Rules of engagement

Since a remark by Mike Powell and email by Sarah Cummings on how to market KM to CEO’s of selected countries in Africa, who have been ‘sold’ the view that ICT is the magic bullet for rapid development, I have come across interesting papers on how to market KM. Chris Collison’s paper in IK Magazine, was top of the pile, even if it does not offer all the answers. It  opens with this statement:

“You have two hours to run a syndicate session in the chief executives’ forum, and engage the top team in the subject of knowledge management.”  read more of this paper.