Share your story! Participate in the Knowledge Management Impact Challenge to help identify the measures that matter for Knowledge Management

Measuring the impact of knowledge management is a hot topic in international development circles and many of us are trying to find ways to effectively measure and demonstrate the results of our investments in knowledge and learning to understand how these investments help us achieve our development objectives faster, more effectively, more efficiently, and/or with greater impact. We all know that there are no simple answers or one-size-fits-all approaches but there is increasing consensus that we need to work together to address these challenges by asking ourselves difficult questions and exploring the context of emerging solutions. Continue reading

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Giraffes and tools

Giraffes are fantastic animals, very well designed for their environment. Yes, they are wise and far-seeing and take a broad perspective of their environment, but they are also equipped with some fantastic tools. The obvious case is their neck, superbly suited for reaching the fruit that no one else can get. Then there’s their tongue which can navigate through the maze of thorns and thistles unscathed while seeking out the fruit buried within.

Giraffe tongue

My point is that wisdom and far-sightedness are great but pretty useless if you don’t have the tools to stay alive in the environment you’re faced with.

Of course, on the other hand, the giraffe’s design wasn’t centred around its tools but on the environment. The needs of the giraffe led to the development of tools that addressed the needs – this is important.

If we, Working Group 3, are associating ourselves with the noble giraffe, should we, along with all our valuable conceptual thinking, also take a view on KM tools? Is that within our remit?

I’m a bit of a techie, some might even say a geek. I’m the first to admit that I often get over enthusiastic about ICTs and web based communication tools and become somewhat technology driven. But I’m learning. I now realise that there’s a whole world, in fact a whole history of social tools that different cultures in different times have used for KM. For example, we were hearing about the culture of coffee drinking in Ethiopia, how it’s an informal knowledge exchange process that been going on for centuries. We can learn a lot from this stuff.

The question is this then; what is the right balance of conceptual thinking and practical thinking and how do we achieve this? (While also bearing in mind that WG2 are looking more closely into tools and WG1 are looking into Southern knowledge creation and use).

Any thoughts on this?