IMA provided support for development of the UNICEF Thailand Country Office Knowledge Management (KM) Strategy. The goal of the project was to assess and develop the current KM practices in the Thailand Country Office and to support their knowledge culture through creating a KM strategy.
To begin, a document review and scoping calls established an engagement strategy and agreed methodology. In-depth and structured interviews with key UNICEF informants at different organisational levels, as well as UNICEF external partners, were then used for further research and information gathering.
Alongside this, IMA provided a framework for KM Asset Mapping, as well as designing an online TypeForm survey for UNICEF. We guided core members of staff to complete a KM-CAST, encouraging participation to enhance awareness of KM, and to generate meaningful discussions around perceived areas of strength and weakness.
Findings from this research were analysed to identify key KM products, discuss how they have been and are being used, and provide suggestions for strengthening their outreach.
At IMA collaboration is important to us, the KM assessment report created the foundations for a KM vision, strategy and action plan, developed by IMA and UNICEF together, to make sure that KM becomes a focus, not just now, but for the future.
IMA provided support to ADB in the Philippines to develop a business case for creating a Regional Knowledge Management Network. It was important to develop a KM network in the initial research. IMA looked into the existing Knowledge Management networks in ADB and how they function. IMA then assisted in identifying the potential gap that ADB’s new Regional KM Network proposal could fill.
Following the research, IMA developed a business case in close consultation with ADB contacts focusing on the capacity for this regional network to be established.
IMA included in the development of this business case the following:
The main motivation behind the development of this regional KM network was to encourage use of KM so that ADB could improve their efficiency of sustainable development in the Asia Pacific region.
Visit ADB's website to find out more about them.
Can it improve your organisation’s effectiveness?
by Petra Veres and Silvia Capezzuoli
While among practitioners in Knowledge Management (KM) there is no commonly accepted framework to measure the beneficial impact of the practice, KM is an important discipline which in the past decade has attracted more attention across organisations for a reason. “Knowledge is power”, it is the power within an organisation which enables it to be sustainable, resilient and effective. Hence, we need to know how to manage it effectively.
Even though “knowledge” has multiple interpretations, there is common agreement between practitioners that it includes information, belief or understanding which enables effective action. On our KM course, we define “knowledge” as “the facts, feelings or experiences known by a person or group of people.” Knowledge can be different in its nature. Explicit knowledge means knowledge that is codified, for example in documents, visuals or other media, and this can be easily shared, taught and learned. Tacit knowledge however is in our head and body, and is gained through personal experience; this is more difficult to interpret and share. Knowledge can be generated, acquired, harvested, stored and shared. The discipline of Knowledge Management involves all of these aspects within the broader context of organisational culture.
As a discipline, KM originated in the private sector; more recently other sectors are increasingly expanding KM practices in their work as well.
So why is KM important and why does it benefit you, regardless of whether you are working for an NGO, INGO, Government Ministry, UN agency or Multilateral organisation? Why is it essential for you to learn more and become a Knowledge Mobiliser regardless of your organisational role?
To acquire, store and share knowledge within an organisation has its challenges. “Knowledge transfer is a tremendously leaky process” . I am probably not saying anything new by noting that during and even after a project, valuable information which was collected individually or collectively by the team for the organisation gets lost unintentionally. People working for international development organisations might be under a lot of pressure due to ongoing parallel projects or continuously appearing new tasks. This might limit the time where the team could share their experiences and their individual and collective “lessons learned” from a project. When a project team gets disbanded and people move onto new separate tasks, they might begin to post-rationalise what happened during the project they worked on together. This can lead to an ineffective knowledge transfer which will not benefit the project group, the organisation nor a team which might be working on a similar project in the future. Furthermore, to acquire and store or document the knowledge is also a challenge. The information should be easily accessible to those who need at the time they need it and in the appropriate format. It has surely happened at least once in your organisation that you or a colleague couldn’t find what you needed, so you just ended up recreating and duplicating existing knowledge which could have been found with a knowledge sharing culture. Continuous and long information searches cause inefficiency and can lead to delays in decision making.
It is a fact that not everyone in an organisation is super organised and as humans we do forget things. This results in us not learning properly from our mistakes, we repeat these mistakes, we don’t learn from our successes and sometimes we end up doing everything twice! So, given these realities it might be worth looking for ways to address these challenges.
There are some key questions which you might want to ask yourself and your organisation:
• Do you have a work environment which fosters continuous knowledge sharing? (e.g.do you have effective regular team meetings)
• How is the organisation managing internally- and externally-acquired tacit knowledge?
• Is information shared with more colleagues than just with those who you work together on a project or task?
• Is knowledge frequently documented and easily accessible within your organisation?
Now grab a piece of paper and note down the answers. Then, based on your answers, you can tick each response you are satisfied with. This will reveal your thoughts on where your organisation might need to develop in terms of KM.
KM benefits the whole spectrum from the individual to the group or team to the entire organisation. Overall organisational effectiveness is boosted as KM can:
- create a more efficient workplace
- induce informed and faster decision making
- help to build and store organisational knowledge
- increase collaboration between colleagues and teams
- contribute to the team's wellbeing and hence boost motivation
- lead to innovative ideas
- help with effective risk and opportunity management
- helps individuals spend less time reinventing the wheel
Knowledge is an asset for an individual, a team and hence, for an organisation. Its management, therefore, influences the above-mentioned actors’ effectiveness.
In sum, KM is an important discipline to embrace as it can enable an organisational learning culture in which knowledge sharing is encouraged and individuals who seek to learn more are able to easily do so.
Watch this video to find out about our Online Knowledge Management course...https://www.youtube.com/embed/wEPn9KJ5S6s
 Arisha, A. and M. Ragab (2013) Knowledge management and measurement: a critical review,Journal of Knowledge Management, 17(6).
 Gillman, H., Zielinski, C., Dhewa, C., Hagmann, J. and Martins K. (2020) Challenges and opportunities in measuring knowledge management results and development impact (Part 2) Vol. 15 No. 1.
 Collison, C. (2012) Knowledge Management and Lessons Learned, Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XtJv4QXE0RA&fbclid=IwAR3-UsUE0wAxeXRtdJZT9z_YCnIWt3L4YApsAGCxvFzdkG70g3cLQOEmmOY
“A comprehensive training covering the most important fundamentals of M&E. Very well-structured too,” latest M&E f Results course participant.
This July, we once again held our summer Monitoring and Evaluation for Results course on the Brighton seafront. 16 participants came together to learn about current and widely-used M&E approaches, and practice M&E methods. Like many of IMA’s open courses, the multiple diversity is what strikes you most. 11 nationalities were represented: Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Tajikistan, South Korea, US and UK. The broad spectrum of M&E experience spanned from minimal M&E exposure to decades of experience. Participants came from different institutional bodies: government, private sector, INGOs and donor agencies. Their current work focus areas include malaria, nutrition, narcotics and law enforcement, banking, peace-building and multi-sectoral programmes, both at project/community and strategic/regional levels. We feel this diversity is a rich environment for learning, sharing, challenging each other’s mind-sets and re-thinking patterns and behaviour. Our training design and facilitation approach builds on this richness as we worked with participants’ live projects as case studies; ran peer support sessions; and matched demand for input on certain topics with offers of experience from those who wanted to share.
Participants were particularly keen to learn about Evaluations: how to choose methods and approaches; how to commission and manage evaluations; how best to use evaluation findings. Everyone really appreciated the hands-on data gathering fieldwork with a young women’s group supported by the TDC. In groups, they then used the data to work through a theory of change process and develop theories of change for TDC’s work with young women in Brighton. The practical data gathering exercise is always one of the highlights of our 10-day course. The focus on purposive adult learning and application of new skills is another of our key concerns. Participants clarified their learning objectives at the start, and identified their organisational drivers, referring to these as the course progressed. Daily journaling and reflection in different formats helped to embed individual learning and support participants in thinking through actual application of concepts and methods learned.
“The programme was a very rewarding experience; the faculty and wealth of resources was incredible” - latest M&E f Results course participant.
The coastal areas of Sudan contain some of the best examples of coral reefs. Alongside ecosystem services, these areas provide sustainable livelihoods for local communities. Balancing these uses needs careful management which can be provided with an Ecosystems Approach to Fisheries Management (EAFM) a topic that IMA has been engaged with for many years. We are now working with UNIDO and the Institute of Marine Research (IMR) on ‘Building institutional capacities for the sustainable management of the marine fishery in the Red Sea State, phase II’. This aims to consolidate and further strengthen institutional capacities for the operation and maintenance of a Fishery Statistics System (FSS) and the development and implementation of Ecosystems Approach to Fisheries Management (EAFM) plans for 2 key species.
In April 2019 the first input took place, an EAFM LEAD high level consultation in Port Sudan, Red Sea State, for leaders, executives and decision-makers (LEADers) to understand EAFM implementation at various levels of government and across sectors. Participants included a mosaic of government, NGO’s, research bodies, and local co-operatives. Using a mix of presentations, video, animations, discussions and interactive brain storming, we covered why we need EAFM, what is currently taking place, linking EAFM plans to policy management actions national, provincial and district long term plans. The EAFM management cycle and planning process, and the importance of effective governance frameworks supported by a fisheries management infrastructure were introduced. To conclude, next steps were decided, and participants were encouraged to support their colleagues, influence their leaders, and leaders of other sectors to develop capacity in EAFM and to agree on next steps, including action plans. We look forward to the development of this project!
For those of you who are interested in EAFM, you can read more on the EAFM learn website. There is a link to a free online course, a toolkit, and training materials.
This May, we once again headed to Brussels, to the welcoming training space at MSF Belgium to run our Knowledge Management (KM) course. Working with practitioners from INGOs, the UN and the private sector we embarked on a five-day journey that explored KM content, practice, personal beliefs and values, and Brussels sites! We even learned how to make paper origami frogs!
We very much believe that our participatory course is a journey: a journey for each participant to develop their own sense of KM direction for their organisation. Starting with key concepts, we slowly open our eyes to a very broad, conceptual understanding of the function of KM, and then we zoom in on key practices and tools, supporting strategy development. Our journey provides inputs on KM fundamentals; making a case for KM; KM organisational assessments; organisations as networks and core KM tools and practices. To complement, we support participants to work collaboratively on the costs and benefits of (not) doing KM; fostering an enabling KM environment; maximising KM opportunities; working with KM champions and developing KM intentions and plans. All the while tapping into current thinking and providing resources. And we love to invite IMA KM alumni to the course to share their experiences, thus building stronger connections between practitioners.
“Honestly, one of the best courses I’ve attended. Both, content and facilitation very great” - latest KM course participant.