Today the Second AgriKnowledge Share Fair starts.
Before anything else, we, the Steering Committee, think the Spirit of the participation to this event to be crucial.
I like very much Willem’s description of the spirit of the Share Fair 2011.
The first and main aspiration is to “have a lot of fun”: we need to chill out, talk to other people, get out of our daily routine and breath fresh air to bring innovation and new idea in what we are doing
This is the spirit we want and need to transmit to all the participants and to our institutions, in general. If people will come out of the the week with this spirit permeating their job, then our work can be considered successful.
Let us know this spirit is able to conquer your soul and your job.
September 2011 is a very long and intense month.
After the two events at FAO (the CSDI Stocktaking exercise and the ComDev Expert consultation), it is now time for an important event taking place at IFAD: the Share Fair 2011.
I will have plenty of occasions to meet with people:
- the Training on Photosharing (11:00 – 12:30, room C400),
- the session called “Radio Lake Victoria assist Kenyan farmers with nitty-gritty of food security” (12:00-13:00, room B200),
- the session named “FARM 98.0 FM: Your vocal gateway to agricultural information” (16:00-17:00, room C300),
- the session on “5 years sharing coffee and knowledge: the Bluebar experience” (14.00 – 15.30 Tent: Chill-out Corner),
- the Chill-out with Mark Davies (15:30-16:30 Tent – Chill-out Corner), and
- the Social Reporting Team
The final Agenda of the Fair is available here.
This is not going to be alone, as at the ned of the week the km4dev annual meeting will also take place, in the same venue with even more people and things to learn.
Early this week I met Etienne Wenger. The occasion was an informal chat at IFAD with several people also from FAO.
Etienne talked about Communities of Practice. Here are a some notes that I took during the conversation we had.
Genesis of Community of Practice:
There is a tension between being self organized and sustain a CoP to better organize it. There is no substitute for the internal energy of a CoP. There is no substitute for the “relation” itself. A Community starts with a sort of dating. I never thought that someone can START a CoP.
Ways to stimulate CoP:
Create the activities that allow people to understand the kind of relationship they can have among them. Allow people to talk and engage about their practices. Asking for lessons learned is not a great technique!!! It is too vague. Rather, take advantage of every chance to learn from someone else.
Steps to go through:
Every CoP has its own rhythm. A good community is good for the members, not necessarily for you. Domain discipline: what is this CoP about? Community discipline: given this domain, who are the partners? Practice discipline: on the knowledge of some practice, define the size/shape of the domain. Find your rhythm!!!
CoP and Networks:
Nothing can tell us how long a CoP will last. Often CoPs dissolve into Networks. CoP is just a name. You can call them as you like. Technically speaking there is an identity which is based on the “domain”: this produces a learning implication. In a Network, the accountability is only on the “links”.
Role of Facilitation:
The facilitation can help the Core group of a CoP. Facilitation is not a substitute for leadership. CoP without leadership is usually a failure: look for the core group. A bit of support is very useful because lives are very intense and people can be busy. I changed my mind on this point! Anyhow, you have to create value for them: what do they need?
Participants’ imagination is limited: you have to propose them some ideas. Pulling someone is better than to push him/her. Try to set up activities that create a pull for people’s knowledge. Example: a concrete case for which you need a solution. We are talking about very common sense! Make a clear distinction between energizing and de-energizing tasks for community.
Spend your time on strategic conversation about knowledge.
Connect knowledge sharing to one strategic objective of your project.
Most of the times people working for projects are considered focus groups rather than communities.
I have to admit that I agree almost at 100% with what Etienne said!
P.S.: Thanks Roxy and Willem for creating always good occasions to share and discuss.
Thanks to IFAD and @rsamii we had a very interesting morning yesterday meeting Dave Snowden for a lecture on his Cynefin framework.
Dave talked for more than one hour and I was overwhelmed by an incredible flow of inputs, suggestions, questions and doubts. These kind of moments are fundamental for professionals like me who have to afford the complexity Dave is describing in his approach.
To be able to “probe, sense and respond” we must be always open and willing to look for and receive new inputs from outside.
@snowded said: “We must create new architecture where applications work”. To do that our brain must be always stimulated and fight the risk of being stuck on our desks, behind our monitors, locked in our rooms.
First images of the “Visioning Day” that took place yesterday to speed the work of preparation of the 2011 ShareFair for the UN Rome-based agencies.
THINK OUT OF THE BOX
What a cool session!!! See the gallery here.
Last week Mr John Cheburet was in Rome with us. It was a very nice experience and I’m sure everyone involved in this experiment got a benefit from it.
As you probably remember, John is the winner of the FRI scriptwriting competition on innovation in smallholder agriculture. His script was a story about how Sawdust prolongs the storage life of potatoes. John is a journalist from Kenya and works for The organic farmer. John usually spends his time in contact with farmers around Kenya, collecting ideas and stories.
This time the approach was a bit different. John spent three days meeting with people in Rome, partly at FAO and partly at IFAD. All of them dealing with agriculture but from very different angles. Very different, one from the other: we meet people dealing with Animal health and rinderpest and those working for CountryStat, people dealing with Plant production and potato (the subject of John’s winning script), gender issues, bees pollination and FAO-EU Food facility. And they were many..
The variety of interests was enormous as John interviewed more than 15 people in just one morning and two afternoons. More than 10 hours of sound, as he calls it, were recorded using a fast and simple voice recorder.
The last morning I asked him the miracle: “John” I said, “this afternoon we are going to call everyone back and we need to give a sample of what radio can do for them. We need to show also what contribution they can give to radio. Can you put together a clip to give a perception of what we have been doing the last two days? Some minutes of recording with the essence of what you and these people said during 11 different meetings.”
John just did it.
Wednesday afternoon we were again in the meeting room to learn how radio and development projects can go together. To give the taste of the power of communication. The power of radio, in the days of the Internet. So simple, so powerful.
And John had a great success. Every participant was extremely fascinated by what he/she saw and heard. Now you can hear it and see it, just as the participants did few days ago!
I think it was a very interesting experiment and would like to have chances to repeat it again, soon.
In conclusion, and above everything else, a very special thanks to John for his energy and enthusiasm.
John Cheburet‘s blog.
Filed under reports, events