CGIAR CGXchange 2.0

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CGX 2.0 is an online collaboration platform for the CGIAR based on the Google Apps. Selected as a result of an extensive consultation with potential end users, it has been gradually promoted across the Centers and Programs. After single-sign-on has been implemented by year end, we intend to promote, demonstrate its features and benefits to a broader user base across the System. The issues we would like to explore and find creative solutions for are:

  • how do we present and demonstrate the benefits in a compelling, easy-to-understand and adopt manner?
  • how can we best coordinate with 'user coaches' at the Center's level?
  • shall we continue targeting specific, strategic user groups in order to strengthen the hard core of early adopters?
  • or shall we target a broader user population to increase adoption in the shortest time possible?
  • are the key messages we have identified sufficient to convey the benefits?
  • how do we design and deliver appealing demos and pilot projects?
  • how do we attract potential users so as they feel motivated to abandon familiar yet inefficient work practices, and embrace online sharing and collaboration?

Method Used

The method used for this session was World Café.


The session aimed to solicit the participants' contribution to the CGX 2.0 coaching strategy, and in particular on two key questions.

Question 1) Based on your experience, what were the cases/stories/situations in which the use of online technology helped you get the job done well?

Question 2) What makes learning new tools and ways of working exciting and compelling?

Key ingredients of successful cases:

  • moderation, facilitation, ownership, someone to keep the pace;
  • social element is key: people prefer to work with others and feel/see their presence, which means also the combination of face-to-face opportunities
  • in online courses, participants need to feel confident right from the start, invest time in helping them becoming familiar with the tools. There was a case cited where they started the online course with a game that asked the participants to say 2 lies and 1 truth about themselves, and then the other participants had to discover which one was the truth. After this start-up, people felt confident and keen to start the virtual learning process.
  • Document success stories for others to see with clear examples - show what users can achieve with the tools and make them understand why they should use this tool instead of others.
  • Targeting of the content: make sure the information is targeted to the role of the person you are addressing with the instructional material
  • Usability: basically, the 'don't make me think' factor, also called intuitive, user-friendly
  • Usefulness: the content has to be very relevant to a number of practical applications
  • Time-bound: it is important to anticipate how long the learning experience is going to take and how much time you will save so it can be compelling
  • Playground/Hands-on: testing and playing with tools, foolproof recovery from any action undertaken
  • Recognition of effort, visibility can stimulate learning
  • Shock treatment: going through a shock experience that exposes the participants to something very new and untried for them can trigger the learning/adoption experience
  • Focus on tasks that can be carried out, show the relevance to what people need to do
  • The 'human' or 'personal' dimension to give the idea all adopters are contributing and the sense of ownership.
  • Don't forget the importance of 'face-to-face' whenever possible
  • To teach is to show: demonstrating the capacity of Web tools can be a key factor in overcoming doubts of their use. Show a smarter way of doing work.
  • There needs to be balance: timing depends on maturity and readiness.
  • Give feedback: this gives a comfort-level when the communication goes both ways. Not only engage others, but respond to reactions.
  • If it is fun, then it can be exciting and compelling: Web tools that are not just another "loop to jump through".
  • Learning new tools and ways of working doesn't mean much by itself. Tools and ways of working must relate to what people need to do at the end of the day, be task-oriented. A coaching approach should not focus on how to operate tools, but on the overall process and task set they are supposed to support.

| Full report of the session available for download (PDF, 90KB)

After Action Review on using the method

What worked well:

- In general, the method was suitable to the type of input that the organisers were seeking. The limited time reserved to the session was an anticipated risk, and in fact the contributions to Question 1 focussed on the tools utilised - simply the easiest concept that could have emerged from the session.

What did not work so well:

- Time was not enough to drill more into contexts of use, specific cases (Question 1). To get to this level of question framing, more time and ad-hoc facilitation would be needed.

What to improve for next sessions:

- Use the method when at least half a day is available

- Prepare more and better trigger questions

- Allow time to the hosts to prepare a consolidated feedback (as suggested in the survey)

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