talk-share-learn

web 2.0 for development


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Only few days before the FSCA ComDev Workshop!

This is the last week before the beginning of the FSCA-PISA Training in ComDev that will take place next week in Dakar, Senegal.

The FSCA-PISA Workshop Agenda

The list of tasks to complete is long at least as the list of innovations and new opportunities we are offering the participants. Among others, I would like to remember:

  • the use of several interactive methodologies to facilitate the sharing of knowledge (World Café, Chat show, Open Space, Dotmocracy, Network Mapping, SWOT Analysis, Mindmapping)
  • the six different communication labs dedicated to: web, video, photo, rural radio and mobile telephony
  • the preparation of a Case Study to identify the main issues in the Communication strategies
  • the five Cross Cutting Thematic Meetings organised during coffee breaks and lunches
  • the proposal of a Social Reporting Team to document the event
  • the video-photo coverage of the week
  • the interactive website collecting any information about the event since early this year
  • the informal approach used for the training

Sometimes all of those ideas seems old and not valuable. In reality, while preparing such an event with over 45 people involved, you realize how difficult is to adopt new approaches and what big benefits the trainees can have from them.


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Judging for the FRI’s Scriptwriting Competition

Last week I started a new curious activity: I’m part of the judging panel of the scriptwriting competition on Smallholder Farmer Innovation launched last summer by Farm Radio International.

Actually we are in the phase one of the evaluation process: over 70 scripts were received by FRI and 58 of them passed the initial screening. They have been divided up so each judge got 9 or 10 scripts to review. We now have to go through these entries and select our top 4 or 5 (based on a common judging criteria score sheet). These top 4 or 5 will then proceed to the second round where every judge will review all of the scripts.

More about the competition during the next weeks when I’ll have a better idea on the entries.


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Oriente.com

the panelist

Very interesting meeting yesterday in Rome organized by @donatelladr with the stars of the web2.0 scenario in the Middle East:

– Laith M. Zraikat co-founder and chief product officer of Jeeran.com, the largest Arab online community with 1,5 millions registered users and more than 7 millions of unique visitors per month.

– Nadine Toukan co-founder and tribe-leader of UrdunMubdi3 (Creative Jordan), a social network of people who desire to make Jordan a creative economy, lifestyle and mindstyle.

Unfortunately Habib Haddad co-founder of Yamli.com, who was also expected, could not participate due to visa problems.

We always think that in that part of the world is difficult if not impossible to find innovation while these people clearly demonstrated the contrary.


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Session on microblogging

Luca explaining twitter at the boardLast week we had an introductory session about what micro-blogging is. Most of the attention was dedicated to twitter but there was also time to explain yammer and laconica.

Many different twitterers were in the room like @gaurisalokhe, @mongkolroek, @TheRoadTo and @mariagraziab, with also other friend connected.

Many questions came from the audience. The most representative of the doubts in the room was:  “twitter, like other tools, resembles in many aspects email, so why do we have to move away from email?”

Here are the points and the problems to bypass:

  • people are overloaded by communication flows, and
  • they do not immediately perceive implicit differences among tools.

Unless they have the chance to test these tools for some time, they won’t be able to familiarize with the differences and realize how their job could benefit. Testing needs willingness, time and desire and these issues are not always “available” in professionals. As a consequence, my feeling is that if we want people to modify their behavior, they must be in the position of  immediately identifying the benefits deriving from changing their habits. If we don’t look at the questions people have in mind everyday and we are just fascinated by technology, we loose the focus and our ideas risk to become sterile.

I think we have to go back to these “simple” questions and try to solve these very basic but fundamental problems if we really want to promote KM, innovation and communication in our job.


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Chris Bangle: A disruptive mind

Chris Bangle leaves BMW after 16 years as head of design.

His BMW 7 Series provoked enormous reactions when shown for the first time and Time magazine mentions this car as one of the ugliest ever.

At the same time, he completely redesigned BMW style and his name became part of the automotive lexicon: a “Bangle butt” is a tail with an extra layer of metal on the trunk.

Here are some of his creations:

  • New Mini design

minione

  • Gina, the car with a body of seamless fabric stretched over a metal frame:

Referring to it, he says:  “the GINA philosophy is about: being flexible, thinking flexible, acting flexible, context over dogma“!!!

For sure a very disruptive mind!


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Open Source: my reasons to sustain it

Open source vs. proprietary software is an old discussion and I don’t want to afford as “something vs. something else”. Many things can be said about Open Source and many have already been written about. I want to try to approach it in a different way, starting from my own needs and looking for what satisfies them. I approached the great confront between Firefox and IE in the same way.

Let’s consider some points:
– knowledge sharing: the main benefit of OS stands in its definition, the “openness”. Being “open” to everyone means that the knowledge it contains can be potentially acquired by everyone: users and developers can make it theirs and build their capacities on it.

– capacity building: under this point of view, I see OS products as “gyms” or “garage”, places where you can train yourself and get your finger dirty with the smell of oil and grease. I’m pretty convinced that a good driver is also a good mechanic. That’s why OS helps capacity building: when the engine of your car is open and you can look inside it, even if you are driving in the desert and it fails, you are in the conditions of repairing it. You can decide you are not interested in getting into it and want just to travel comfortably, so you can hire a good driver and a good mechanic who, in case, can do everything you need. Using OS is learning and adding capacities, at the same time. It is something like the passengers of a bus would learn how to build a bus during their travel. When arrived at the final destination, without having paid any ticket, they are also able to build a new bus and drive it themselves: at the end of their trip, they will have the tool and the capacity to set up a new activity of their own. Learning by doing can potentially happens every time someone use an OS product, while this does not happen with proprietary products, with which users can learn “how-to” but not “what-it-is”.

– cost: costs are also important. OS products are free. You don’t pay for the product as you can download it for free, most of the times. You have two choices: you can pay for the knowledge about it or you can decide to learn by yourself, putting your hands inside it, and save the money.

– innovation: as OS products are usually produced by large groups of people, are quickly released and frequently updated. A good idea is the core around which people create good tools. Maybe they are not so well known as other commercial ones, as developers don’t spend much time on marketing their products, but technically they can usually rely on clever minds and active people.

As a conclusion, I decided to support OS because I see more advantages for everyone.