Discussion Report 7 Marc Steinlin - "Learning4Change" instead of "KM4Dev"?

From KM4Dev Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

To use the template, click on "Edit this Page" and then copy and paste the text into your [Open Space Discussion Reports].

"Learning4Change" instead of "KM4Dev"?


Marc Steinlin


1. Catherine 2. Nadja 3. Camillo 4. Meg 5. Barbara 6. Craig 7. Prabhu 8. Artur 9. Paul 10. Vicky 11. Peter 12. James

Key Discussion Points

There is a concern that while we are very good, sophisticated and extensive in terms of generating, capturing, disseminating knowledge, we are very weak on absorbing and applying learning to the reality/ field in order to bring about true change. This leads to a) overflow of information, knowledge products and the like and b) lacking impact/ pertinence.


This kind of KS is - against all proclamations - very supply-driven. "Producers" and "Disseminators" of knowledge products (by the way an oxymoron - knowledge can't be captured in "products" since it then becomes information) assume that someone some day would need this information, however they can't really anticipate who would do so when and under which circumstances. This is not what is meant by "demand-driven".

Really demand-driven KS takes only action when some demand triggers a request for knowledge, that is when the particular, situation-specific knowledge need is already defined, and any response (capturing, generation, capitalising, disseminating) is taylored to that particular situation/ request only.

Ways to do so may be brokering mechanisms (for one-to-many processes), the creation of dialogue networks (for many-to-many processes), ie. formats and processes that allow quick response (on-demand) rather than the the production with foresight to some unknown moment.

We should inform our efforts by the change we want to evoke and target them towards what "works" in terms of bringing about that change. KM/KS sometimes tends to become "l'art pour l'art".

A useful mental concept could be the succession of the 3 "phases" or "elements" of Diverge - Emerge - Converge:


This is an application of the Beckhard Change Formula:

C = D x V x F > R

(C=Change, D=Discomfort, V=Vision, F=First Steps, R=Resistance to change)

This formula suggests, that in order to bring about effective change, all 3 elements need to be in place. If any of them is zero, the change is zero. We must therefor deliberately work not only on the first part of the formula (ie. creating discomfort through learning and sharing of knowledge, but also think about how we can create new visions on this basis as well as providing people with a pathway (first steps); only then will learning and KS lead to significant change.

Comments of Participants

"The discussion in the groups raised practical realities in the field of KM4Dev and raised questions which were in the unknown domain but which everyone knows it exists. It is time we start talking the reality and be responisble for the resources put in towards change, focusing development."

"Take «Change» as the first stepping stone of KS strategy card, not only the end result of the process; Knowledge use (--> learning) as a precondition to change; Individual change that is more achievable than institutional change."

"Social change takes time and knowledge managemetn has a bigger role to play."

"In order to achieve change, you need to move to a different level of «participation» in organisations. Follow a social networking model --> participatory model across organisations --> manage change"

"All the knowledge management process support learning as a key element to increase impact of actions. This includes the process of assimilating and applying learning."

"Are best practices useful (as they are usually produced)? On what level can you effectively motivate change? Many organisations seem to be stuck in the divergence phase."

"You need several elements together: new ways of dissemination along with brokering and dialogue networks."

"Its not good to concentrate on the left side of the arch - build it and they will come indeed. Have to use better techniques to get intrest and sustainability (or «»?)"

"Need to move from KM or KS to learning. How do you facilitate/ manage/ encourage change? Triggers for change."

"New media can facilitate uptake but converting bad content to new media will not change anything."