Tuesday, May 18, 2010

KSGhana: Feedback from Fishbowl on do we need good/best practices and what FAO can do to share them

We had a very interesting Fish Bowl on the importance of collecting good/best practices. We divided the 4 chairs into red (against collecting) and blue (pro collecting). Here are some of the thoughts participants shared:
  • If we were to collect good practices, we would need to do them all the time. Do we have enough time for that? Do we know who/how it is being used?
  • We often collect them but do not have appropriate sharing plans. We need a blended approach to sharing our knowledge. The terminal project reports would be one approach, but these should be combined with other media (podcasts, videos, summary briefs, etc.)
  • They are important for FAO but we need to think about the various types of audience for the good practice and prepare the appropriate package for them.
  • Often projects have technical objectives but do not incorporate knowledge sharing as a logical next steps of the results. The project teams should consist of professional communications experts who can support the "simplification" of the technical knowledge and improve the dissemination of the knowledge. It is important to plan the use of project outputs from the beginning.
  • Collecting good practices also allow us to get experiential knowledge, not just the technical knowledge.
  • We need to show staff members the various channels available for sharing. Many technical project staff might not have the experience for using these channels but they will be informed and be able to make possible choices based on their context.
  • Collected experience should also be translated when appropriate and made available to potential users who may not understand the original language of the report.
The general agreement was we need to think about communications (and knowledge sharing) from the beginning, the teams should consist of people with experience/expertise in communications, and ensure that blended (multi-modal) approaches are used when disseminating outputs. Given that this can be expensive, projects should incorporate KS and communications right from the beginning. We then can design teams with necessary competence.

Are we able to do that? What do you think? Is investing in good practices worth while?

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