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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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The Spirit of the Share Fair 2011

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.

Interview with Willem Bettink - one of the organizers of the #sfrome

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.


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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.


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Share Fair 2011

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.

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.


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Social Reporting during the FAO Conference

After the very positive event in Dakar for the FSCA-PISA Workshop on ComDev, it is now time for a new experiment of Social Reporting.

This time it’s happening during the 37th FAO Conference which is taking place this week at FAO in Rome.

It is the first official experiment of this kind for FAO and I think it is going to be a very interesting experience for the organization. It is important to offer the house a perception of what social reporting could be during such an event.

We chose a very light approach with few people in the Team (mainly @faonews, @permreps_unrome and myself @neoluk) and a list of selected events during the week to follow and tweet about.