talk-share-learn

web 2.0 for development


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Addicted?

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Yes, I have to admit: I’m addicted to my iPhone!

Yes, it is true. I depend on my iPhone. Or, I can say, I WAS depending on my iPhone as I don’t have it at the moment!!

I can say this because I’ve been spending the last month without it: it has been a nightmare!

Just to summarize: I got the daily habit to accomplish several tasks with it and now, that I’m not able to do them, I feel a bit lost.

Reflecting on this situation helped me clarifying that: the way we live today is based on the continuous management of information and, in order to have our lives up and running, we need to keep this information organized. If this does not happen, than several of our “communication channels” with the rest of the world are interrupted and, as a consequence, you can experience one of the following sensation: feeling isolated and out of date, lacking the tools to conduct your usual activities, or missing your social life.

What do you think? Did something similar happen to you? Is it good? Is it bad? None of the two?

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Fail Faire at IFAD

innovating&failing

The 29 October I went to the Fail Faire at IFAD.

Roxy organized and promoted the event to help all of us to openly discuss and share professional failures. The objective was, and is, to be able to manage failures and get the best out of them: learning by doing, in a certain way.

I met interesting people like Tim Harford, Aleem Walji, Dave Snowden and Ashley Good, who animated to the event, heard very fascinating stories about failures and errors, and brought with me the following key messages:

  • We need to realize that we do a very complex job. Working for the UN is not as easy and simple as you can think. The level of complexity due to the very different people, the languages, the topics and, most of all, the “politics”, is incredibly high. This should be much clearer to everyone and, in my opinion, would require much more attention, time and efforts than the ones currently dedicated;
  • If you don’t fail you did not try to innovate. It is only changing that you innovate. It is in the change that you take your risks. Think about it if you are proud of not failing in your job;
  • Communication is fundamental for what we do. We should talk and talk and talk. And then talk again in order to be clear and aligned and always ready to move ahead together. Think about your recent past, make the “failures emerge” and then talk about them with someone you trust in order analyse them and focus on the the reasons and try to avoid them in the future. If you talk about the reasons of you failure with someone they will be evident and it is more difficult for you to repeat them in the future.

Last but not least: trust is always a key element in this learning process.

 

The event was very useful mostly because it is fundamental to think and zoom out from what we are currently doing, and develop new and better ideas for the future.


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Share Fair 2011 – day 2

Today inspiration came from the great intro by Rob Burnet who talked about the incredible experience of shujaaz in Kenya. This series, which is using comics, radio, internet mobile telephony and video, introduces agriculture to the Kenyan youth. Rob strongly suggested: “Go to the point. What does your audience is looking for?” and “It is not the what. It is how. Push does not work at the end.”

Rob Burnet introducing Dj B

In the afternoon I joined @etiennewnger‘s and @NancyWhite‘s Community clinic to look for suggestions on how to solve problems of the CoPs that I supervise. In particular, I wanted to reflect on the FSCA community that it is still not very active after the workshop in Dakar. We came out with the answer I already knew: when the need is not clearly expressed by the members, then it is more difficult to have the group working as a Community. And this reminds me what I heard this morning during Rob’s address.

The class listening to suggestions during the Community clinic

I closed the day meeting Ms Tukhikyan from Armenia who shared their experience in the attempt to mitigate plastic pollution. Recycling plastic bottles + substituting common plastic bags with other bags to diminish their use.

An alternative to plastic bagsWhat to add? An intense and inspiring day. The days you need when you are missing ideas and want to find new inputs for your daily work to refresh it and reinvigorate.


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Share Fair 2011 – day 1

The first day of the Second Global AgriKnowledge Share Fair was really great. I follow Willem’s suggestion and I had lots of fun.

Etienne Wenger at sfrome

In the morning, Etienne Wenger‘s words were really inspiring. His approach, which compared CoP and dating, was really striking. That sense of deep trust that you develop in a relationship can be felt in a community where you offer something for free, exactly in the same way. And this is so true that is very difficult to convince people that it is real! Most of them remain sceptical about the kind of knowledge/experience you can exchange in a community because they consider it impossible to be done. But in reality it really happens. It is a sort of miracle, a combination of the best merits of a human being: altruism, trust, consciousness, generosity. What a liberation! What a dream! What a real thing! It really happens! It is true even if it does not happen elsewhere. The heart makes the difference, Etienne said. The feeling inside and not the tools or the techniques.

Later in the morning, I had a training session on photosharing. Few participants but very interested and full of questions for me about the topic I was teaching. We essentially talked about flickr, its features, its pros and counts, and the ways to get the best out of it.

The class at the photosharing training at sfrome

In the afternoon I followed Nancy‘s training on graphic facilitation and I loved it. More than anything else I’m grateful to her because she showed me that drawing is possible. That I can do it. That, again, it is a matter of heart and feeling, not a technical issue. I did my tests, I drew my men, my icons, my circles and lines. I did my final examination with “my personal toolkit” test. And my level of satisfaction is really high. I look like a child when I showed my drawings home to my girlfriend because I really realized that I can do it. That potentiality is in there and it is just to me to exploit it. Such a good lesson for my job and, much more, for my life. And there we go again: it is a matter of heart.

Efforts to draw at the Graphic facilitation training

This first day was passionate as few before. It was necessary to remember all of us that, before anything else, we need to put ourselves in what we do, open the doors of our offices, get out of them and then come the rest, like tools or techniques.


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Explaining ComDev using video interviews

Communication for Development has a big problem nowadays: people do not clearly understand what it is.

During the preparation and the development of the ComDev Expert Consultation we produced short videos (almost 30) to explain basic concepts of ComDev. The entire list is available on the FAO ComDev channel on youtube.

FAO ComDev Channel on youtube

Mario, Riccardo, Oumy and many others provide interesting explanations of what ComDev is and how it deals with rural development and agriculture.

The experiment was also important to provide a clear example of how, using limited means and without a specific experience, it is possible to create a sort of mini-training course exploiting the power of social media.