Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Session on Working Across Geographically Distributed Environments

Session on Working Across Geographically Distributed Environments, 20 January 13.45 - 15.00 in Flag Room

Comments by Cristina Sette

Jamie Watts and Cristina Sette presented an activity that the Institutional Learning Change Initiative has implemented, called Laboratory for Learning: new approaches for facilitating innovation for poverty reduction. The laboratory was formed by a group of professionals (manly from the CGIAR) who knew each other and have been working with collaborative research. The group members are located in several parts of the world and is composed of 7 cases and those cases are linked with numerous other networks. Each case/project has their own funds and research agenda or workplan. The knowledge activities happening within the group, promoted by ILAC, are as following:
  • Face-to-face meetings
  • Participatory impact pathway analysis (PIPA) to bring diverse partners together under a common planning framework
  • Interactive website (with blogs, project pages, intranet, etc)
  • Selected and targeted online resource center
  • Training workshops
  • Publications
  • Learning oriented participatory monitoring and evaluation
  • Small grants to each project
  • Email discussions (DGroup)
The Learning Laboratory activity started with a face-to-face meeting, where trust was built. However the group has been interacting virtually, the face-to-face interaction is important and is planned for once a year, together with other opportunities for interactions during visits and training workshops.
The website was developed based on an assessment made during the first planning meeting. Cristina assessed the participants (and future users of the website) what information would be relevant for them to have available at the website, additionally their familiarity with technology and connectivity. Based on that, the more appropriate technology was chosen, web development companies contacted and the website was developed. The majority of the content for the resource center within the website came from the Learning Laboratory members themselves. The next step is to plan guiding sessions with each member of the Learning Laboratory (about 20 people) and take them through a virtual tour to the website. This activity is planned for the month of February 2009.
As part of the knowledge sharing and learning activities, ILAC plans an annual reflection exercise, where participants will be asked by a facilitator several questions to stimulate the discussion and capture the lessons learned during the first year of the initiative. The survey will be applied within the next few days.
More information about ILAC and the Learning Laboratory can be found at the ILAC website www.cgiar-ilac.org

The session was attended by the following people:
  • Adrian Marbaniang, NERCRMP, buggieblues (at) yahoo.com
  • Cristina Sette, Bioversity, c.sette (at) cgiar.org
  • Elizabeth Goldberg, Bioversity, e.goldberg (at) cgiar.org
  • Jean Louis Blanchez, FAO, jeanlouis.blanchez(at)fao.org
  • Jorge Chavez-Tafur, ILEIA, j.chavez-tafur (at) ileia.nl
  • Helene Fournols, FAO, helene.fournols (at) fao.org
  • Helen Schneider, IDS, h.schneider (at) ids.ac.uk
  • Jamie Watts, Bioversity, j.watts (at) cgiar.org
  • Lottie Erikson, FAO, lottie.erikson (at) fao.org
  • Oonagh Darby, Bioversity, o.darby (at) cgiar.org
  • Patricia Weaver, IDLO, pweaver (at) idlo.int
  • Simon Chapter, GreenInk, s.chater (at) greenink.co.uk

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