Knowledge sharing toolkit update days
The Knowledge sharing toolkit update days were not exactly part of the IFAD-funded program of activities for the KM4Dev community but they brought together various community members and were instigated by some core group members - so we decided to report about this activity. In addition, it looked as a rather successful operation that could serve as a model for other community activities - or at least as a rich experience to draw upon.
A survey was conducted to carry out an after action review with a) organisers and b) participants. The survey results are available here:
- 1 Overall summary
- 2 Organisers's views
- 3 Participants' views
"Basically the expectations were met." 40 volunteers gave their time to work on a total of 420 updates of 66 pages, half of those in English, 20 pages in French and 10 in Spanish (for a wiki which has over 100 knowledge sharing tools and methods, fact sheets, close to 540 members, and an average of 10,000 visits per month). Crowdsourcing works, with minimal structure, thanks to having a group work (a sense of community on the spot). It does require a coordinating team to prepare, structure, coordinate and clean up. Having clear timing, limited time investment, visible and accessible results all help. What could be improved? Deciding what pages need updates and organizing the overview of who is updating what page more clearly.
What was expected to happen?
There had been previous experiences with KS toolkit update days. But this was the first time it was totally crowdsourced. The organisers hoped that participants would update pages, translate others, and create new pages - and organisers themselves would help coordinate by publicizing the site, doing some pre-event set up and sharing instructions pages and hopefully update a few pages themselves.
What actually occurred?
There was a great interaction, with older and newer faces. A lot happened - Lot's of translations, fewer page creations. The 2 day crowd sourcing event gathered some 40 volunteers who gave their time to work on a total of 420 updates of 66 pages, half of those in English, 20 pages in French and 10 in Spanish. This wiki which has over 100 knowledge sharing tools and methods, fact sheets, close to 540 members, and an average of 10,000 visits per month.
What went well, and why?
The coordination - and using Facebook to do so - worked very well to remind participants and keep the momentum. People had few technical issues, so there was no need to intervene much.
What could be improved, and how?
- Getting a better overview of who's working on what - Using FB to report changes was not in real time nor on the main website.
- "I thought the whole event was well organized and went very well."
- Having the coordinating team indicate what might need attention, where to fill the blanks etc.
- Working in real time with other editors
- It might have been good to have a 'buddy' system so two people in each region were involved.
How did you “find the time” to be involved in the KS Toolkit Update Initiative? Please describe any specific strategies you used.
A common feeling among fellow KM4Dev members is that they would like to participate more in KM4Dev discussions and activities, but they find it hard to find the time.
- I blocked 1 hour in my day's schedule, and had made a list of 3 entries that I wanted to develop.
- Once I realized I didn't need to be available full time on those two days, it was easier to carve out a half hour here and there.
- I just wanted to contribute to the toolkit and I'd decided to park other (paid) work so I could participate in the second day of the Toolkit Update. Of course this is somehow easier when you are a consultant and can decide how to spend your time
- It could be that each first Monday of the month it's toolkit update day, and some volunteers could stand by to support interested editors
- It was limited to two days, date was set long before and I could arrange it for myself on the second of the two days.
What was the most important lesson or illustration of this exercise and its possible connection with KM4Dev (if any)?
- Crowdsourcing works, with minimal structure.
- Having the knowledge that one is not working alone "socializes" the activity to a level that encourages participation.
- We still need a core group of people who will clean up and rationalize after the event
- "Maybe a confirmation that things can happen in an organic, decentralised, emerging way when there is a value in the product created. "
- Concrete action, clear timing, limited time investment, good communication, regular updates and short messages (Simone did a very good job!), visible and accessible results, a sense of community and motivation.
Artifacts: Facebook Event Page https://www.facebook.com/events/187503541386141/ Planning Google Doc https://docs.google.com/document/d/1nwA3qA4PYa5SleQUt2hV3RVFRYySTX6UJF1nJsICyzE/edit