CIAT present at international knowledge management conferenceMay 12th, 2011 | By Simone Staiger | Category: Knowledge Management
I gave a talk at an international knowledge management conference in Bogotá, Colombia. My one hour talk to some 200 participants was about the now 7 year long KM journey of the CGIAR and its ICT-KM Program, with an additional focus on CIAT’s experience.
See the slides below.
I started the conference with a speed dating icebreaker (meet as many people as you can in 5 minutes), which was great because I was the last of 5 speakers of the day and people were starting to get tired.
People loved the slides about the scientist (showcasing Dr. Daniel Debouk) and the hundred year old woman farmer which I used to insist that both are experts and have to make difficult decisions. It was a nice coincidence that Dr. Debouk mentioned in our recent post on CIAT’s Open House that “science is too important to leave it in the hands of only scientists” .
When I talked in the conference about face to face interaction, I got them to work briefly in groups of six and asked them to create an Open Space agenda, and we also created a quick Fishbowl setting as an alternative to plenary sessions.
Some of the questions I got at the end and some answers I gave:
- “Tell me more about KM in research”, which I did
- “I am creating an internal organizational network on innovation and I am afraid people won’t share their ideas”. I recommended her to start the network activities on a meaningful but much less difficult issue to see if she is able to create enough confidence among the geographically spread participants, to than tackle more delicate issues once the common ground and confidence is created.
- “We have started to work in community of practice mode, combined with social media for knowledge sharing. How do I make them thrive and get beyond the 20% of participation?” I told him that it is always better to detect communities and groups that form themselves in a rather natural manner in an organization and to value those and support those instead of creating them from scratch. This might then encourage other people to form communities.
- A librarian thanked me for having mentioned librarians as an important resource for KM and asked me if CIAT has a strategy for generational shifts in the organization so that senior knowledge doesn’t get lost. My reply referred to a discussion Victoria Ward and I had just two days ago with CIAT’s HR people where we explored the possibility of using storytelling to connect retiring and incoming staff.
- Another question was about how we make sure that we actually get results out of more informal meetings. I told her that I would rather talk about interactive meetings, and that in order to work, they have to have: Clear objectives, a well thought design, facilitation and a good documentation process. Often they take much more preparation time than “formal” meetings.
- Finally somebody asked about some tips for virtual meetings, to make sure that everybody participates. They will use GoToMeeting shortly and here are some ideas we talked about: Use Nancy White’s clock technique to be able to do go arounds; start with a simple ice breaker question (what is your day like in Medellin, Cali, Bogotá…) so that all the voices are heard and people feel part of the meeting; try to use the chat as a way of collective documentation and I also encouraged him to use the collaborative windows to share and answer together the main question that they need to work on together live. I recommended him to be less ambitious for a virtual meeting then for a face to face event, because interaction takes more time; create smaller task forces during the meeting who will continue to work virtually afterwards and then get together again in the bigger group.