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Ag-Huddle focusing on KS/KM

Convenor(s) / facilitators

  • Peter Ballantyne, IAALD
  • Gauri Salokhe, FAO
  • Roxanna Samii, IFAD

KS/KM in a changing agricultural landscape: AgHuddle at KM4Dev 2009

At the KM4Dev workshop in Brussels (6-8 October), we will organize a thematic 'AgHuddle' for people interested in knowledge sharing (KS) and knowledge management (KM) in the agriculture sector.

Following the overall workshop focus on 'KS/KM in a World Of Change', we plan to organize our time as follows:

Focus 1. KS and KM in changing organizations

All across the agricultural sector, knowledge, learning and innovation are emerging as key points where organizations need to invest and make a difference. Capturing, mobilizing, and sharing different types of knowledge and information - and putting them to good use - has moved up organizational agendas.

This attracts attention from different domains - managers, researchers, IT, web, communication, intranet people, publishing, libraries, learning, and KS/KM. We can see increased attention to strategies in this area; many experiments with different social media and toolkits; continuing efforts to build and sustain different types of learning networks and sharing communities; more attention to knowledge 'systems' and 'products' and their presentation/visualization across different platforms; diverse ways to organize and deliver and report on face to face meetings; an interest in 'open' knowledge and its accessibility; and increasing conversations among the KS/KM champions across organizations.

All in all, this is a very diverse and dynamic area. Driven by organizational needs to become more effective. Some of the questions arising include:

  • How do we best work with multiple knowledge producers, uses, users, communities and types of knowledge?
  • How do we work with multiple approaches and tools, and with content that is increasingly mobile and accessible across many increasingly mobile platforms and devices?
  • How do we with partners who can extend the reach of the knowledge?
  • How do we track and demonstrate progress and impact of KS/KM activities, making the case that these approaches and tools are not 'add ons' - that they can make any activity more efficient and effective. Are there ways we can demonstrate this?

Focus 2. KS and KM enabling processes of rural change

Beyond our rather structured organizations and their particular concerns, we are also seeing an explosion of interest in the use of ICTs to facilitate different aspects of knowledge sharing and application in and with rural communities - and among the people who interact with them.

While the attention is often focused around the technologies, we can also see many 'knowledge'and 'information' strands: So-called 'innovation systems approaches' explicitly recognize that innovation needs the involvement of different types of organizations and actors - and effective KS, communication and learning among them; there are some efforts to document local content and farmer/community knowledge, catalyzing its exchange among farmers and with others; providers of mobile devices and services seek ways to tap into existing knowledge systems and so offer added value services; various 'question and answer' services have been set up to connect farming communities with expert knowledge and advice; content creators - in research or academia - are looking for ways to translate their knowledge so it will be taken up by rural communities; and we are seeing the emergence of diverse 'infomediaries' offering a range of knowledge access, connecting and brokerage services across different media - radio, video, web, phones, etc.

This is another very diverse and dynamic area. It is driven by urgent needs to address complex rural and agricultural issues and provide services and solutions in ways that are empowering, relevant and sustainable. Some of the questions arising include:

  • How do we effectively work with multiple producers and consumers of knowledge, across cultures and languages and embedded in development processes?
  • How, and how well, do we share knowledge in a fast-moving technical environment where some types of mobile connectivity are growing rapidly, even among the poorest?
  • How do we effectively work in partnerships with diverse actors that have the potential to translate knowledge to action?


1. We propose to start with facilitated discussion and storytelling (in 'after action review' mode where we reflect on good and less-good experiences) in each of the two focus areas. As food for thought and conversation. VOLUNTEERS NEEDED - PROPOSE AS A COMMENT BELOW

2. Thereafter, we propose to use open space methods where participants can cluster to discuss specific issues and lessons in further detail.

3. We aim to capture major learning and sharing points in real time. Social media.

4. By the end of the huddle, we aim to identify some collective answers to four general questions:

For organizations working in agriculture, for agricultural change processes:

  • What positives can we already build on in agricultural KS/KM? What goes well and has proven results ...?
  • Which areas of agricultural KS/KM do we need to pay more attention to? What doesn't go so well and how could we improve ...?
  • Which developments and innovations in agricultural KS/KM look most promising? Upcoming best bets ...?
  • What take away messages would we share with/offer to the other thematic huddles?


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