Talk:KM and Coronavirus

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Meghendra Banerjee, 30 March 2020, 18:03

Hi all... thank you for this opportunity.. can we also start with a notion that the current situation is a result of failure of KM?

Chris Zielinski, 30 March 2020, 17:50

Please start from whatever position you prefer - nothing is out of bounds as long as it follows standard list etiquette.

John Hoven, 31 March 2020 08:18

Here are some issues to consider:

  1. Rapidly emerging information: every day, we learn something new
  2. Unknown unknowns: every day, we learn something unexpected about the virus, social behavior, testing, and remedies
  3. Mass customization: local contexts are unique, and they interact with other unique local contexts
  4. Fast feedback: real-time iteration between data collection, storage, distribution, action, impact, and analysis

Francois Stepman, 31 March 2020 10:01

We can congratulate ourselves on the fact that the overabundant connectivity of our solitudes virtually maintains, during this period of abstention, the vital links that must continue between us. In reality, part of us is surprisingly prepared for this sudden confinement.

Each of us receives and emits bursts of texts and videos intended to raise a united front of virtual solidarity. Uninterrupted transmission of small thoughts, funny stories, spiritual drawings, expressions of friendship. Endless spiral of shared "emoji" emotions. In this paradoxical "shared isolation" of "rediscovered proximity" how not to feel overwhelmed by the communication in loops, saturating the waves, and whose virality undoubtedly intends to compete with that of the real virus. We order in two clicks, we are answered within 24 hours. Food, books, beauty products ... Everything we want is delivered to our doors by masked servants, individuals without names or faces, who have retained the right to move, since they provide our service.

Our new virtual world has suddenly taken a scale - whose impact we have not yet measured. This period of torrential communication, compulsive shopping, voracious idleness, naturally provides a gold mine for profiling algorithms. This was already the case before the epidemic, you may say. Yes, but we were not forced by necessity to expose all of our behavior and our exchanges online. We were aware of the convenience of electronic communication and e-commerce. We used to see in the power of our electrical equipment, a technological victory over space, over distance. But now, we face a forced and unwanted removal. We had not yet estimated the value of this victory in terms of safety. The development and rolling out of corona virus apps bring us closer and faster to what Harari calls "the world of data-ism".

However, after this exceptional period, virtual links, which will have temporarily saved our human solidarity, should not dominate the future.

Bruce Boyes, 31 March 2020 10:44

Related to John's points (1) and (2), the uncertainty and ambiguity resulting from the constant flow of something new and something unexpected means that there is a need to consider multiple narratives, each of them potentially valid, as this new article in Nature argues: [1]

The article advises that in consideration of this uncertainty and ambiguity, we need to actively search for multiple interpretations. This highlights the importance of "multiple knowledges and multi-stakeholder processes in the solution of ‘wicked’ problems," as recommended by Sarah Cummings and colleagues for a fifth generation of knowledge management for development: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0266666918800174

Rocio Sanz, 31 March 2020 11:52

As KMers there is a responsibility that goes beyond the everyday tasks:

  1. observe and learn from this crisis and from each other. Help sharing best practices among countries but also understanding what is not working well and why, so that we can be ready to improve and support in the future - if we were to face another similar situation.
  2. how as KM can serve better the organisations, the staff and even our communities.
  • Work-wise: how can we support the internal communities and teams to ensure they don´t feel isolated, they get the information they require to carry out their work. How are we sure that critical information is reaching each and everyone and that everyone can be heard? Making sure that everyone knows who to reach for specific information (understand who is who, who does what).
  • Work communities: what about creating informal spaces where those who feel isolated can engage with others in "virtual cafes"... creating a feeling of being part includes creating supporting mechanisms, creating spaces that allow each and everyone to express themselves.
  • KM as neuralgic information centre: making sure there is a place where all critical information fall and disseminate to ensure critical information is shared and it can be re-distributed according to needs / requests etc.

Suzanne Kiwanuka, 31 March 2020 19:09

Some issues to consider

  1. Addressing mis-information about COVID 19 a blog perhaps to collate some of the erroneous information about the disease, its causes and symptoms.
  2. A brief about how epidemics or in this case pandemics behave and what influences the behaviour of an epidemic curve.

Benjamin Abugri, 1 April 2020 12:15

Dear Francois,

I perfectly agree with your submission. I am particularly intrigued by your last statement; "However, after this exceptional period, virtual links, which will have temporarily saved our human solidarity, should not dominate the future".

Michael Hill 1 April 2020 16:48

Rocio,

You wrote, “Work communities: what about creating informal spaces where those who feel isolated can engage with others in "virtual cafes"... creating a feeling of being part includes creating supporting mechanisms, creating spaces that allow each and everyone to express themselves.”

I fondly remember ‘cake’ when I worked in Australia. Our shop had ‘cake’ every Wednesday a 10, rotated who brought cake, everyone came, bring your own brew and the cardinal rule, no discussion of work for the 15 minutes of ‘cake’. Strange how without discussing work so much got done – either just before or after – and in the social aspect. If you’ve read this far:

Have virtual ‘cake’ where your team checks in and for 10 minutes you just check on each other while occasionally holding up your coffee, tea, juice, water, energy drink to the camera. Two of my KM Principles are: Raise the human contact levels first; and Don’t fight the Human Network (at least not directly). FWIW, I’m an introvert so both are hard for me as a KM but I can’t fight results.

Randhir Pushpa , 1 April 2020 16:48

Hi,

I have written a blog on how knowledge management is helping to fight Corona Virus outbreak in the place where I come from.

Corona virus and the power of managing knowledge

I come from this very interesting piece of land in the southern region of India. Travel aficionados call it the “Gods own country”. Kerala is unique to India if not to the world, due to its high quality of life, which is comparable to most of the developed countries of the world. Kerala recently got plagued with multiple virus attacks and the way it is handling the outbreak is an example of the benefits of intelligently managing knowledge.

Look forward to your feedback.

Chris Zielinski, 1 April 2020 17:51

Reviewing the first days of our discussion on the role of KM in coronavirus, I am struck by the very first message: “Hi all... thank you for this opportunity.. can we also start with a notion that the current situation is a result of failure of KM?”

It would be interesting to unpack this notion further. To me, it looks something like this: There was a massive effort to manage knowledge in China at the beginning of this epidemic – mainly to suppress it. Then, as the scale of the problem grew uncontrollably, the ability to manage knowledge about it also became uncontrollable until finally the whole enterprise hit the rails of international agreements regarding global public health and a deposition was made by China with the World Health Organization.

At this point, China changed many things in the way it managed knowledge in the country. It would be fascinating to have an account of what happened there – and what is currently happening. Each country in the world has since been challenged to come up with both national and international responses to the knowledge management of the crisis. National, since each country had its own institutionalized reporting system and knowledge management infrastructure, and its own duty, whether legal or purely ethical, to keep its citizens informed. And international, in response to a globalized knowledge management system based on pre-existing accords in such bodies as the World Health Assembly.

It would be very welcome to hear from list members about national knowledge management of coronavirus. Please give as a brief account of what happened/is happening in your country.

Organizationally, WHO began exerting its organizational knowledge management practices from the beginning. This appears to be responding well to the demands of the crisis. However, what is clear is that WHO cannot (and indeed should not) do it alone – such institutions as the Johns Hopkins University, the US Centers for Disease Research and other bodies have stepped up to meet the challenge. Again, this cross-linking of centres of knowledge excellence appears to be a new form of trans-sectoral knowledge management. So far it seems to be working – but it looks spontaneous. It doesn’t seem managed.

Any views?

Yannicke Goris, 3 April 2020 11:23

Dear all,

I haven't been too active in this group but have followed your conversations with much interest. At The Broker we feel that this crisis definitely poses a challenge for knowledge brokers and draws attention to our responsibilities and, at the same time, limitations.

COVID-19 and the challenges it poses (and opportunities it creates?) for the development sector is leading to the production of massive amounts of knowledge - some of which is valuable and helpful, much of which is repetitive, speculative and perhaps even adding to the confusion. As The Broker our main tasks include bringing together different perspectives and sectors; synthesising complex and/or too many knowledge products into knowledge that is accessible and usable; and trying to make sense, create some order and overview, especially when knowledge is too much and muddled. As you can understand, our knowledge brokers all feel that 'we need to do something' when it comes to knowledge brokering on COVID-19. However, we are all also very much aware that trying to get an overview at the present moment is practically impossible as we are still very much in the middle of the storm.

Although no longer the physical magazine we started off as, The Broker still hosts a magazine on its website, which is well-read by a wide variety of international development actors. Here we publish fresh perspectives and feature expert contributions at the forefront of international development debates - stories that go beyond mainstream discussions. As much of the outputs regarding COVID-19 that find their way onto the web at present deal with immediate responses, organisational requirements, and speculations on 'what the impact may be', it seems futile to try and come up with some final analysis/synthesis or keep up with everything that is published every second of every day. Additionally, based on conversations I had with some academics, it seems that the academic take on this whole crisis and the impact on international development is not (sufficiently) represented. No wonder really; there is simply not enough data or conclusive evidence. However, we do run the risk of missing out on the input of some great minds and innovative thinkers who are now holding off from writing and awaiting more data. For these reasons, The Broker has decided to create a dossier dedicated to the COVID-19 crisis and here we will (re-)publish those articles that go beyond the usual debate, are regarded as particularly useful by/for the sector, and/or present insights or ask questions that trigger new thoughts and pathways for development. We want to offer our magazine as a space for experts/academics/practitioners that have a particularly fresh take/perspective on the COVID-19 crisis in relation to international development. Our aim is to bring together particularly fresh or useful views in one place and in that way contribute to the dissemination and creation of new knowledge and debates.

I want to use this email to invite you all to contribute to this dossier, either by sending in your own (ideas for) articles, sending me existing articles you find particularly insightful/innovative, or connecting me to people you think have fresh perspectives. What we are looking for: 1) links to existing articles - articles that offer a fresh/innovative or particularly useful perspective on the COVID-19 crisis in relation to international development - if we think the article indeed fits the dossier, we will contact the author(s) and see if we can republish them on our website - full credits are given of course, with links to the original article

2) more importantly: new contributions - these could be fully developed articles or ideas for articles - ideas or articles can be sent to me (yannicke@thebrokeronline.eu) and if necessary I will provide some feedback/suggestions for editing so that the article fits the dossier and style of The Broker

For all articles: - we have an absolute maximum of 1500 words, but prefere articles no longer than 1000 words. - the article should be well-written, both in terms of English (spelling, grammar etc.) as well as accessibility - we are specifically not looking for academic texts; we are aiming to reach a broad audience

What The Broker offers: - publication on a well-read online magazine - we will provide feedback and offer some basic editing service - we will publish the article on our magazine, including full credits to authors/organisations/etc. - we will disseminate/promote the article online through our social media channels and will link to authors/orgs as well

I am very curious to hear your thoughts on all this and hope you are all willing/able/eager to contribute either your own views or connect me to interesting perspectives of others. Thanks in advance and if you have any questions/qualms, please pop me an email!

Ram Shrestha, 3 April 2020 14:00

Dear Goris,

This is very useful reflection you made. Actually This is one of the largest crisis I ever noticed in my life.

In such scenario, how peoples manage individually as well as cautiously help to stop corona transmission is very important than any other knowledge at this moment. So I am transferring message to break chain and education people to behave sincerely.

Let us do it globally

Jorge Chavez-Tafur, 7 April 2020 15:56

I think we are seeing a lot of new ways of sharing and communicating, and much of this will help us a lot in the future. One of our tasks can be to see what works and what doesn't (recognising that we are in a privileged position, most of us being able to continue working, discovering new tools for what we do every day). At the same time, we don't know what is happening in many places, we dont know what will happen, and we cannot know - so maybe we cannot even call it knowledge management. I guess everybody would say that managing what we don't have is also management?

Federico Sancho, 7 April 2020 16:28

Hello,

Several ideas are starting to reappear in terms of COLLECTION- Having as much of relevant good quality information from science on the matter, COMMUNICATION- Trying to connect those who may know with those who may know less...so solutions can start to be discusss....and finally CREATE....have the solutions in place and fixing back things..

Chris Zielinski, 7 April 2020 17:08

The first day of the "WHO ad-hoc consultation on managing the COVID-19 infodemic" took place today with speakers from WHO, academia, NGOs, policymakers and social media (Facebook). The organizers noted that the 2019 corona virus disease (COVID-19) epidemic and response has been accompanied by a massive ‘infodemic’ - an over-abundance of information – some accurate and some not – that makes it hard for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when they need it. In response, WHO has established the Information Network for Epidemics (EPI-WIN) that unites technical and social media teams working closely to disseminate and amplify the evidence-based information about COVID-19, and to track and respond to misinformation, myths and rumours.

The consultation is itself an instance of trying to manage knowledge about COVID-19. We have seen each country trying to manage in its own way, and for the international community to coordinate the response of an entire sector. The focus on information - and misinformation - is striking, as this is a relatively ignored and unfunded component of the internaitonal development effort. Some of the issues that have dogged the "peacetime" programme of knowledge management - notably the scarcity of indicators, the relative lack of research in methods for disseminating good information and countering bad information - are very much current concerns with COVID-19.

The consultation is expected to make recommendations that facilitate strengthening health worker capacities and institutional competencies related to digital literacy.

Francois Stepman, 7 April 2020 17:10

As the novel coronavirus Covid-19 continues to spread, putting enormous strains on the public health systems around the world, questions have been raised about its potential impact on food supply, food demand as well as on the global economy as a whole. The spread of COVID-19 has highlighted how vulnerable we all can be to global shocks. Greater inclusivity in food systems is not a panacea for this or any other crisis, but it is a critical part of strengthening our resilience.

Several Webinars are being organised (and recordings made available) on the relation between Covid-19 and food and nutrition security, climate change, business and finance:

  • 25 March 2020. WEBINAR. Exploring the Impact of COVID-19 on Livelihoods in Africa: The Effect on Remittances
  • 26 March 2020. WEBINAR. How African Businesses Can Survive COVID-19
  • 2 April 2020. WEBINAR. COVID-19, food systems, and interaction with malnutrition
  • 3 April 2020. WEBINAR. The geopolitics of COVID-19 and climate change – the role of disruptors in the transformation to sustainability
  • 7 April 2020. WEBINAR. LAUNCH EVENT - 2020 Global Food Policy Report: Building Inclusive Food Systems.
  • 7 April 2020. WEBINAR. COVID-19 and Global Food Security Implications
  • 8 April 2020. WEBINAR. Réunion Virtuelle. COVID-19 et implications pour la sécurité alimentaire mondiale
  • 14 April 2020. WEBINAR. COVID-19: Implications for Global and Country-Level Food Security, Nutrition, and Poverty
  • 14 April 2020. WEBINAR. Réunion Virtuelle. L'impact de la crise sanitaire du COVID-19 sur le secteur financier africain
  • 15 April 2020. WEBINAR. Making Finance Work for Africa (MFW4A) and our partners for this webinar on the impact of current health crisis on the African financial sector.
  • 1-3 July 2020. Video Conference. CORONAVIRUS: the management of pandemic and the impact on Agenda 2030.

John Hoven, 7 April 2020 17:11

“At the same time, we dont know what is happening in many places, we don’t know what will happen, and we cannot know - so maybe we cannot even call it knowledge management.”

For the moment, let’s call it “rapid localized new knowledge management.” “New knowledge” emphasizes discovery rather than disseminating what we already know. “Localized” means nuanced understanding of a specific context, approaching it as a one-of-a-kind situation rather than a statistical random draw. “Rapid” highlights the need for rapid learning in the COVID era — but the need is present in any startup project that must deal with the nuances of human behavior and relationships (e.g., in international development and peacebuilding).

As we become comfortable with that, we can go back to calling it knowledge management.

Michael Hill, 8 April 2020 15:21

I’ve long argued that managing the acquisition of new knowledge is more important in KM than codifying and storing. Where and how do we need to explore, what do we need to learn; but that’s a lot harder to measure than documents, SharePoint, search metrics, etc. I guess both have their place but organizations that focus on what can be measured always seem to backslide on KM pretty quickly.

Aseem Andrews, 8 April 2020 15:24

What about adding another 'C' in this [to Collection, Communication, Create (ed)] - Curate

Curate is absolutely essential in my view to 'cut through the clutter' and bring some knowledge related sanity in these times where social media drives much of the rapid information flow and exchange which is oftennot the best for medium to longer term knowledge codification and sharing.

Just my 2 cents!

Kristin Strohecker, 8 April 2020 22:42

Agreed- Curation is essential.

Something else that has become essential for us, especially at this time, is Synthesis - not just culling and selecting, but identifying trends and generating new insights - is where we can bring even more value. The challenge is to do it in a responsive and timely manner.


John Hoven, 8 April 2020 22:43

Mike, your perspective seems puzzling coming from an expert in cyberspace. Can you share why your experience persuades you that “the acquisition of new knowledge is more important in KM than codifying and storing,” and that “organizations that focus on what can be measured always seem to backslide on KM pretty quickly”?

Carlos Rodriguez, 9 April 2020 10:27

Dear all,

Thank you for this discussion, here my quick views:

Currently the big challenge is not the "knowledge" but (a) the "management" part and (b) the KM demand side (where leadership is a central element)

Traditionally we already needed: (1) more integration of the KM function within/with the rest of functions: management, programming and administration (direct users of KM), (2) to find solutions more adapted to organizational needs, (3) to target and influence the influencers and decision makers. The challenge now is how to accelerate the solutions to the previous structural challenges…

I can speak from the point of view of international aid/development and how I perceive the "response" is taking place

While I perceive that (at all levels) the leadership, coordination and strategic thinking are not as strong as could/should be, I perceive that "business as usual" is unfortunately "as usual": in terms of the silos way of working, lack of trust & accountability, egos, personalism, individualism, activism, and rest of possible "isms"…

As individuals we cannot think "outside the box" while the strategic thinking and collective impact approaches are missing (is a "French revolution" kind of approach the most relevant/consistent now?). My feeling is that we could be more efficient with a real collective impact approach. Furthermore, while in the past the impact of "no (real) strategic thinking, no coordination, no positive leadership. no knowledge management, no learning organisation" could be hidden, today and tomorrow, unfortunately, we will be able to measure this in terms of social and economic losses …

We need to think how to strengthen processes of collective impact, positive (centralised & decentralised) leadership, joint planning, joint capacities, networking, transparent communication, systems of incentives and mutual accountability, then, the role/value/need of KM will be put on the table.

Peter J. Bury, 10 April 2020 13:32

Dear all,

Thank you Chris and all for starting up this first thematic conversation during our celebration year #KM4dev20years! Too bad the current global situation triggers us to address a truly pandemic crisis. Lets hope it can bring us together a bit more...

One thing that a community like KM4Dev could contribute to our global community is a curated meta-level access to reliable sources of information related to and relevant for dealing with the coronavirus crisis and its undoubtedly severe consequences for many of us in the near (to distant?) future.

So my proposal would be, maybe in close cooperation with other like-minded communities, to develop (or contribute to an existing) Wiki that provides overview, access and possibility to use reliable coronavirus related information and knowledge.

Some will say "curated?". Yes I think we have to come up with smart inclusive and collaborative ways to curate what such a Wiki would offer to make sure reliable information is offered.

Finally, for those not having online access to such a Wiki, we would have to gradually build a solid network of bridging the digital gap partners all over the world, that commit to work on providing the bridge that allows access (use) of what the Wiki offers and vice-versa feeds into the Wiki non digital local information and knowledge that may benefit others.

Who would be interest to explore what we can do and start working on this in a useful way?

Chris Zielinski, 13 April 2020 17:17

Considering that knowledge management often relies on technology to work, it may be relevant to the present discussion to note that the UK is considering using an app that warns you if a COVID-19 carrier is near.

British newspapers reported over this weekend that the National Health Service (NHS) has an app which can trace contacts. According to The Sunday Times, “Ministers have ordered the creation of an NHS mobile phone app the government hopes will help end the coronavirus lockdown. The app would allow mobile phones to trace users who have come into contact with infected people, alerting them to get tested… The system will use Bluetooth technology to alert those who download the app if they have been in close proximity with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19.”

The Guardian also covered this issue and referred to a secret memo which it had seen in which it said, “’more controversially’ the app could use device IDs, which are unique to all smartphones, ‘to enable de-anonymisation if ministers judge that to be proportionate at some stage’” – in other words to let the user identify the approaching COVID-19 carrier by name.

What do people think about this scenario?

Yacine Khelladi, 13 April 2020 19:06

In the area where I live (southwest Dominican Rep.) people are trying to find who has the virus to burn their house. They did same in neighboring Haiti when first suspected case. Also recently the stopped national road traffic and tried to burn a car when was said they had one person with symptoms. After several hours police came and was able to take the car the passengers to main provincial town hospital, none was infected. Context is very low trust in authorities capacity to manage the crisis and very poorly prepared and inefficient health system. Nothing more to say.

Peter J. Bury, 13 April 2020 19:46

I would not have concerns if authorities would be able to ensure that after the pandemic all data would be destroyed. They can't!

Denise Senmartin, 14 April 2020 10:33

Hello Chris,

Huge question and challenge. This is a sensitive issue at debate in many countries. How to deal with privacy and personal data when developing tech solutions for helping people and governments deal with the pandemic? I read about "Private Paths", an MIT open source app similar to what the NHS wants to develop here.

Not sure how they plan to channel its usage but sounds like it has some answers...

Veronique Sikora, 14 April 2020 12:13

Hi Chris, Hello Everyone,

What is the purpose of designing such an app? Do we track the Millions and millions of children that die of hunger every year? Or those who die of malnutrition due to our dietary means?

This app “could” help but it could also be a way of tracking for so many reasons it could lead to scaremongering.

I am not one for sharing stuff - I am one for caring for people and there are a lot of people who are unwell and all because they are being isolated, going into depression, do not have the tools I/we have and to get what they need - simply food…

I was on a call this morning with Initiatives of Change (https://www.iofc.org/) this morning with people from around the world from the UK to Burundi to Hong Kong, Indonesia,Kenya, Ukraine, France… I am so privileged to be in a country where there is a government that is working for the people and yes, using these data and they assured us in a responsible way. The EU has said there are limits as to how we can do this… and that it may not be acceptable..

It is a difficult time to understand all that is going on and to make sense of it all. What I do know is that we need to care for one another and to build community.

Another thought … has anyone read seen an interview with Vandana Shiva called 'Bill Gates is continuing the work of Monsanto', I watched it the other day …… food for thought…

Sending you my love and gratitude the opportunity to hear and to listen, to write and to feel, to be present here today

Peter J. Bury, 14 April 2020 16:18

Dear Véronique and all,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I come back to it few lines further on below.

First I would like to encourage all of us to strive towards a conversation. Most posts that I read in this thematic conversation seem not to really engage in what others contribute (I may be wrong, as I do not follow the contributions very closely).

I agree with Véronique [regarding the NHS app for contact tracking coronavirus cases], why this app now? My not very friendly assumption is that those with money think about possible solutions for problems and fear in their own society. Only a few powerfully rich and resourced people gear substantial amounts to much less resourced poor societies, an exception is probably the Gates Foundation. True privacy is at risk, no-one, no government, will be able to warrant that collected IP addresses of mobile phones will be completely erased once the pandemic is over. And so this very private information could be misused in the future.

Véronique, thanks for sharing the IOFC Initiatives of Change, I'm going to explore. I currently actively participate in the GAIAjourney.org initiative (a Presencing Institute one), we are 5000+ across the globe. Vandana Shiva was with us during our last online togetherness (we use Zoom in combination with YouTube streaming). I still have this dream that one day the share of non-white-privileged from the above mentioned poorer societies will be aware, able and willing to join such initiatives. Alas their participation tends to be very low.

Indeed we need to care for each other and create community, alas for too many of us this is still a challenging task to do in an inclusive global manner. Take care and stay safe also when you are among the incredibly courageous ones that put their own health at risk...

Peter J. Bury, 17 April 2020 17:46

Knowledge or ignorance, what do most people tend to go for?

Matt Moore, 18 April 2020 10:53

Peter,

They go for what feels good, what feels right.

Have you read this?

Charles Dhewa 18 April 2020 10:54

In the context of Coronavirus I think those coming up with vaccines to fight this pandemic are doing real KM while the rest of us are just pushing information and contributing to information overload. If it takes some time to build a body of authentic knowledge, given that COVID19 is barely a few months old, knowledge about it is still scarce.

SENAME Atsu, 18 April 2020 10:55

In Africa, COVID-19 impacts the start-up economy. Faced with this crisis situation, what role the KM will be able to manage in supporting small start-ups in Africa.

KM and start-up in COVID-19: What strategies for which results?

Larry Hiner, 18 April 2020 21:06

Seems to me that the pause from the expected frantic pace of business-as-usual provides an opportunity to collect success case studies with proper curation to help the start-ups fare better when some semblance of normalcy returns.

John Hoven, 19 April 2020 17:59

People rely on trusted sources. That’s an efficient way to filter out spam, but it also insulates a group from new knowledge. This applies even (perhaps especially) to expert professionals.

Modern corporations have become expert at hiring and supporting people who look outside the box and connect with people who think differently. I don’t see this at all in government and social organizations.

KM can help with strategies that support exploratory search and connecting across disciplines.

Nancy White, 20 April 2020 09:57

I want to shake this up a bit.

I think the future is, as William Gibson said, unevenly distributed. Some sectors are now running at frantic paces while others have a pause. I think we have to really look across these lenses.

For example, small businesses, particularly restaurants in my sliver of the world, have found themselves excluded from recovery money from our (*(@#*)_%(&(&*) federal government, who found a way to funnel all of it to large corporates than truly small businesses. So while they are at the same time trying to set up take out businesses, support their now mostly unemployed staff (who don't have any social safety net or health benefits when pay stops), deal with bureaocrazy, and their own health protection. They are FRANTIC.

For example, front line workers in health care, education, transportation - working long hours at risk, risk risk. There is no pause.

Parents-turned-teachers-while-supposedly-working-at-home --> total crazed life.

The pause is unequally distributed. So the question might be, how can those who are paused contribute to those who are even more frantic than ever. Coach small businesses? Help them work through the bureacrazy set ups? Take care of their families while they work long hours? Develop future options planning?

I'd add finally, that normalcy as we knew it may NOT return. I'm not sure it is time to look backwards for case studies, but instead ignite our imaginations in ways that we haven't exercised since we were children, and anything was possible. Curating a past that may no longer exist isn't devoid of lessons, but I'd be cautious about relying on them in the new future in front of us.

From a development perspective, this comes down to life and death. I know that I'm so wrapped up in my very local context I can easily forget the perspectives of my colleagues around the world. Maybe amplifying news from ALL parts of the world is one way to start imagining what we do going forward. This could be something those in "pause" might help do.

I know I am still often stuck in my own limited lens. This is not a good way to imagine the future.

Christina Merl, 20 April 2020 17:11

Dear Nancy,

Thanks for sharing this. I very much appreciate your concern and your call to action. Indeed, writing the "new narrative" for our planet will ask for imagination and creativity, but also for a different mindset. I am particularly worried about the latter.

It sounds bizarre, but I personally know people who enjoy the current "sabbatical", as they call it; people who enjoy the paid free time they now have, either being public officials working from home or employees who are currently funded by the state in the framework of a programme to safe jobs, taking their dogs for a walk "more often than ever", living healthy, and telling those who fell victim of the crisis that it's unfortunately their destiny, a consequence of their professional choice.

So I would be particularly interested to find out what it takes to change the prevalent mindset, which is based on the following assumptions:

  • precarious lifestyle "is your own fault" (freelancer's destiny)
  • it's your professional choice
  • it's up to you to change your life"
  • it's your fault that your skills are not sufficient, work harder etc.

Currently, I am getting invitations to virtual webinars that promise you to "become the hero of virtual space" etc. etc. etc. What I see is a huge effort to transfer what we practice in the physical world to the digital world, thus creating a parallel universe of similar patterns and behaviours. And I am just talking about what is visible...

I have been working very hard to establish a methodology that uses imagination, future story formats, artistic impulses and photographic approaches to initiate change in different contexts. And I do see euphoric reactions and small steps that point in the right direction. But still, the massive avalanche of developments and behaviours and mindsets is overwhelming.

I am more than happy to contribute and think along and take action. Given what I have experienced - see above - I admit I feel a bit helpless.

I look forward to other thoughts and probably concrete activities that are currently taken and that could be shared elsewhere?

Paul Corney, 22 April 2020 22:17

Great example of knowledge sharing. Through a good friend I’ve mentored I reached out on behalf of my city to the volunteer movement in Wuhan. Here’s their reply. I hope it’s of use to others.

Larry Hiner, PsyD, 23 April 2020 12:56

Thanks for the appropriate shake-up.. I agree that frantic and pause mean different things from differing perspectives. And that past business (busy-ness?) stories may not yield direct object lessons for the present of future. However, not learning from our past is perilous; examples and non-examples have the power to teach us.

And, there are a LOT of people on pause, working for larger entities from home, who have vast knowledge and great stories, if we took the time to capture them. They are not wasting their time in traffic or commuting on the sleep-inducing train. They are taking care of kids (homeschooling) and preparing home-cooked meals (vs. curbside delivery), so their time is not all "free,"

There is a happy ground in here that may well yield helpful information to be applied as knowledge in looking at "what's next," by asking, "how did we get here?"

As for those of us who are bordering on frantic, Mindfulness is recommended.

Chris Zielinski, 25 April 2020 12:43

Here is a short list of knowledge management issues in coronavirus. Any suggestions about what should be added to this list?

Data: authorities hiding the facts, cases and deaths not being classified correctly (deliberately or by error), data collected only partially (e.g., only from hospitals), data interpreted wrongly, etc. In general, a lack of data management strategies.

Communication: authorities trying to paint a rosy picture (“light at the end of the tunnel”, “signs the curve is flattening”, etc.), authorities spreading misinformation (take malaria or tuberculosis medicine, inject disinfectant, drink Hennessy, etc.), everyone spreading misinformation. In general, a lack of communication management strategies

Governance: the war between politics and science, power versus unpalatable facts – the facts change, science bending under the pressure of budget and job security. In general, a lack of protection for key scientists – who in an epidemic begin to resemble whistleblowers.

Knowledge management: poor stock assessment for an epidemic (how many of what do we need by when?), lack of clear guidance on timetabling (what should we be doing by when?), lack of research into personal protective equipment, no inventory of needed skills (“It’s not just about running out of ventilators, it’s running out of expertise”). Each knowledge gap seems to catch everyone by surprise. In general, a lack of knowledge management.

Veronique Sikora, 25 April 2020 13:32

Chris, Thank you.

The tacit knowledge that is being shared and that cannot be grasped - the stuff that is really happening on the ground. It might include what it means to care for others, the time that it takes, the changes that keep happening the agility that is needed. I look at our amazing Swiss Pandemic specialist and all that he has brought - that we don’t necessarily understand or see.

Sue Griffey, 26 April 2020 12:02

  • Under Comms or the KM heading, I’d suggest adding the user /general population perspective: What does the pop. know, think, believe and what previous experiences has “caused” shifts in behavior; what are the key info sources and for which populations
  • Under KM, I’d specify what info sources/mechanism are available already and for what kinds of info [This may be available generally already in KM overall but in this pandemic is likely needed and on a urgent basis, without time to collect/map it]

Sebastian Hoffmann, 27 April 2020 13:12

Dear Chris, dear Colleagues,

I think this coronavirus crisis mirrors a new challenge for KM, too. We may be good at managing declarative knowledge (know-what) and procedural knowledge (know-how).

But what about reasoning knowledge (know-why), supported by new data analytics technologies? Ideally, reasoning knowledge should help to create decisions supporting wisdom on top of knowledge.

Despite all the Covid-19 knowledge / information / data available the wisdom layer has been very weak because it fully depends on the human reasoning capacity still: How to draw correct conclusions from declarative and procedural knowledge in the challenging multidisciplinary fields of e.g. epidemiology, virology, clinical diagnostic, psychology, data analytics / statistics, public health, economy and last but not least methodologies like PCR testing and serological tests which can generate reliable or even very unreliable data?

During this crisis, reasoning knowledge has been compiled and disseminated wildly which has accelerated a tremendous disaster because adequate wisdom has not been generated from it. Figures have been correlated and interpreted by violating basic rules in statistics and science as such.

My suggestion: "Human wisdom" is a separate knowledge management issue in coronavirus because of the multidisciplinary subject complexity and the tremendous scope of consequences for the societies.

John Hoven, 27 April 2020 13:12

Good list, Chris. Given the rapidly evolving learning we see in response to the coronavirus, here are a few more items under Knowledge Management:

  • connecting across disciplines
  • purposeful search for unknown unknowns
  • dynamic databases for rapidly evolving data
  • GIS for nongeographic data

Stephen Bounds, 28 April 2020 01:18

Hi Sebastian,

I agree with your overall premise about "know-why" but I don't think this is a problem of "wisdom" exactly (which I consider the ability to correctly spot weak patterns from past experience).

Rather: Some countries had strong, pre-existing decision making frameworks to rely upon when faced with this problem, especially at an organisational and supra-organisational level. Others ... did not.

A secondary but related factor was how much trust people had in the institutions that were attempting to inspire (and sometimes enforce) collective action.

Peter J. Bury, 28 April 2020 09:50

John I agree, but again what 1is different here in the context of Covid_19? Nothing in my view.

Good list, Chris. Given the rapidly evolving learning we see in response to the coronavirus, here are a few more items under Knowledge Management:

  • connecting across disciplines
  • purposeful search for unknown unknowns
  • dynamic databases for rapidly evolving data
  • GIS for nongeographic data

Peter J. Bury, 28 April 2020 09:53

Why is KM for Covid-19 different?

It totally escapes my why KM, KMS(systems) or IMKS (Information Management and Knowledge Sharing) would be different for Covid-19 that for any other field, topic, project, programme, community...

Can someone explain this to me?

Sebastian Hoffmann, 28 April 2020 11:42

Dear Peter, Dear All,

I think that Covid-19 reveals an important additional layer in KM which has to do with the interpretation of big data and data analytics for decision support. When KM specialists publish and visualize this great wealth of data like e.g. https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6 reasoning knowledge is assumed. But all this wealth of data and visualization do not necessarily help in complex decision making , even the opposite can be the effect, although the knowledge provided is essentially important.

In the example above, most people start to use basic Algebra since the meaning is not visible in the data, nor in the charts.

In this case the human factor to create wisdom from reasoning knowledge is more important than in other fields where meaning is rather obvious because few disciplines are involved only.

The interpretation of data driven knowledge chunks which involve disciplines like epidemiology, virology, clinical diagnostic, psychology, data analytics / statistics, public health, economy and methodologies like PCR testing or serological tests is a new level in my viewpoint. This is more than e.g. content curation.

Something went wrong despite access to a wealth of knowledge.


Srividya Harish, 28 April 2020 11:46

Dear friends

The way I see it. It is not necessarily different but how can we use the KM concepts, methods, tools … to support COVID-19 Management. I just a wrote a blog mainly for my organisation on Infodemic and a Personal KM Plan. I also published it on LinkedIn as an article.

If people are interested you can read it here https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/infodemic-pandemic-information-knowledge-management-srividya-harish

Paul Corney, 28 April 2020 12:46

Dear All you might be interested to learn of this virtual event taking place in a few weeks time:

[2]

I hope it’s of use.

Stephen Bounds, 28 April 2020 12:52

Hi Sebastian,

I agree with your overall premise about "know-why" [reasoning knowledge] but I don't think this is a problem of "wisdom" exactly (which I consider the ability to correctly spot weak patterns from past experience).

Rather: Some countries had strong, pre-existing decision making frameworks to rely upon when faced with this problem, especially at an organisational and supra-organisational level. Others ... did not.

A secondary but related factor was how much trust people had in the institutions that were attempting to inspire (and sometimes enforce) collective action.

John Hoven, 28 April 2020 13:44

What’s different about KM in the time of COVID19 is the rapid search for new knowledge, not just new data in the old boxes.

So let me underscore Paul’s announcement of this virtual event:

Dear All you might be interested to learn of this virtual event taking place in a few weeks time:

[3]

Here is a description of the event:

'Knowledge Management in a time of crisis - lessons learned from COVID-19'. Featuring leading KM practitioners from organisations including NHS Health Education England, ARUP, Lloyds Bank, UNESCO and the Home Office, this is a great opportunity to learn how effective knowledge flows can help build resilience and adaptability.

Peter J. Bury, 28 April 2020 15:45

What is different about KM & Coronavirus

Thanks John for reiterating "What’s different about KM in the time of COVID19 is the rapid search for new knowledge, not just new data in the old boxes."

And pointing to "'Knowledge Management in a time of crisis - lessons learned from COVID-19'."

"Featuring leading KM practitioners from organisations including NHS Health Education England, ARUP, Lloyds Bank, UNESCO and the Home Office, this is a great opportunity to learn how effective knowledge flows can help build resilience and adaptability."

I may be completely wrong or it has been for me since years simply a choice of setting boundaries. To me the search for new knowledge is primarily a form of research (which can be of very different natures).

This is, to me, very different from Information Management and Knowledge Sharing (IMKS) and developing and maintaining KM systems (KMS) that allow overview, access of use of what is there. I accept that others have other understandings about KM.

Veronique Sikora, 28 April 2020 21:55

Hi Stephen,

What you name as a secondary but related factor - trust - I would say is not secondary although it may appear to be so. Trust is primordial and we can see it in countries where there is little trust in governmental organisations. Unfortunately, there may now be even less trust…

I believe the role of trust is much more of an issue than we make it out to be. Having explored trust in an organisation quite a few years ago, and working in another institution where trust is forever an issue, I feel is part of the picture and it should be taken into account. And thus, it might lead to what we also call wisdom.

John Hoven, 28 April 2020 21:59

Peter said, “To me the search for new knowledge is primarily a form of research (which can be of very different natures). This is, to me, very different from Information Management and Knowledge Sharing (IMKS) and developing and maintaining KM systems (KMS) that allow overview, access of use of what is there. I accept that others have other understandings about KM.”

I agree. However, COVID19 is pushing us to learn and act at a pace much faster than academic research, and often interactively with actions and outcomes. I think KM has the skill set to support that in ways that are different than IMKS and KMS. Call it Rapid Knowledge Management (RKM).

Charles Dhewa 29 April 2020 06:12

Thanks John.

I think Rapid Knowledge Management is more like it for me! Policy making processes are being forced to move much faster in order to stand the next decision to either lift or extend a lock-down. COVID-19 has rendered knowledge a highly perishable commodity.

Bruce Boyes, 29 April 2020 11:31

John said that "However, COVID19 is pushing us to learn and act at a pace much faster than academic research, and often interactively with actions and outcomes. I think KM has the skill set to support that in ways that are different than IMKS and KMS. Call it Rapid Knowledge Management (RKM) ... Correction. Call it New Knowledge Management (NKM)."

There are already emerging models for this, for example as discussed in [4]

SENAME Atsu, 1 May 2020 16:31

COVID-19 Rapid Research Funding Opportunity

This funding opportunity is part of Government of Canada's continued rapid response to address the health challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding will enable rapid and timely research responsive to the current phase of COVID-19 pandemic in Canada and around the globe, which is focused on slowing and stopping the spread of SARS-CoV-2. https://mailchi.mp/10335cdbd0ab/new-funding-alert-nouvel-avis-de-financement?e=112518a93b

Peter J. Bury, 2 May 2020 00:00

Dear Charles and all

Though I do agree that in true emergency situations (and how we define these will vary from person to person) rapid decisions can be life saving, I have serious doubts about making rapid decisions in general (who takes the decisions anyway?) in all other situations.

Managing knowledge (true knowledge or data and maybe information?) rapidly makes even less sense to me. It risks to lead to management of "knowledge" that has little or no (lasting) value.

We see the world wide trend of people in power using the pandemic situation and related fears to grab even more power. Many countries risk at the moment to descend into dictatorship or situations very similar (Brasil, Turkey, Zimbabwe, Hungary, USA ... to name just a few)

I love unhurried conversations, and while those are most likely not the methods to rule a society, they could benefit also those that have the responsibility. I hope they do.

Oh and by the way, I invite those that are in favour of RKM (Rapid Knowledge Management) to share with us some ideas or prototype examples of what form this could take.

Peter J. Bury, 2 May 2020 00:00

Dear Bruce, thanks for sharing an emerging example of NKM (New Knowledge Management). We can all see what happens if politicians like Donald Trump (what? is he a politician?) practice or at least use or refer to the so-called RKM a.k.a. NKM, isn't it? And yes a slower pace may lead to a higher number of older people dying a bit earlier, often under sad conditions.

But as a lady on Dutch radio said the other day, maybe we should have allowed relatives to accompany those persons in their last moments with love, words and empathy, rather than letting them completely on their own in their last moments...

Food for thought? Stay safe, use common sense, keep informed but in a critical way, use triangulation!

John Hoven, 2 May 2020 17:47

Peter said, “Managing knowledge (true knowledge or data and maybe information?) rapidly ... risks to lead to management of "knowledge" that has little or no (lasting) value... I invite those that are in favour of RKM (Rapid Knowledge Management) to share with us some ideas or prototype examples of what form this could take.”

Rapid iteration between data collection and analysis (e.g., rapid prototyping, qualitative theory building) generates new knowledge. You are correct, that much of the “knowledge” gathered during this exploratory process has little or no lasting value. Its role is to discover knowledge that does have lasting value. New Knowledge Management is not simply storing and sharing recently discovered knowledge. It is managing transitory knowledge during the exploratory process, and indeed managing the exploratory process.

A concrete example is a current search for market sectors that are adapting to the coronavirus chaos in the developing world. For starters, the team will conduct interviews one day and the following day, discuss what they learned and what they need to learn next. Then repeat. The goal is to quickly identify resilient market niches, why and how they are succeeding, and how to support them.

John

Charles Dhewa, 4 May 2020 09:45

John,

Here is why Rapid Knowledge Management and New Knowledge Management makes a ton of sense to me in these trying times:

Without belittling the seriousness of COVID19 pandemic epicentres of which are far away from African countries like Zimbabwe but in Europe and America, I am pondering about the proportionality of responses and optimal timing of the drastic public health responses to COVID-19 being implemented by countries far away from the epicentres.

  1. If 34 Ebola positive cases are detected in Nairobi, would Kenya declare a nationwide lockdown and test every worker for Ebola?
  2. If SARS outbreak happens again in China and 40 Zimbabweans recently in China test positive in contact tests conducted in Harare, would it make sense for the government to lockdown the economy and demand that every worker from Binga to Zaka Growth Point be tested for SARS and wear masks?

There is a Shona idiom which says “Haupisi imba nokuti yapinda nyoka” meaning “You don’t burn your house merely because a snake has entered the house.” In other words, your reaction should be in proportion to the challenge. The idiom represents very strong Shona wisdom and philosophy that African leaders are shunning. Imagine if an African President had a face to face meeting with 10 Chiefs from 10 provinces, how much basic African wisdom would he get for combining with Ministry of Health data-driven COVID19 policy recommendations.

Afrocentric knowledge brokering combining traditional wisdom with subject matter expertise is one skill lacking in our policy arena. “Burning down the house on suspicion that there might be a snake inside. And as the house goes up in smoke you see the snake hiding in the fowl run”.

Michael Hill, 5 May 2020 08:47

Charles,

Thank you for your inputs. I can hear a friend of mine saying ‘because New York City is a mess, you want us to shut down Montana and Wyoming, where there has been almost no deaths, few cases, and the hospitals are almost empty? If Montana was having a New York City proportionally sized mess, and New York City had Montana’s current conditions (proportionally), do you think NYC would even entertain shutting down?’ The question answers itself.

I also dimly recall some similar wisdom about rats and boats – you don’t burn the boat to get rid of the rats. Maybe we just try to get too sophisticated to show our modernity, and we let phrases like, “Let the science lead” displace simple wisdom. Sometimes there’s more than one way to solve the problem than the one wrapped up in scientific packaging – like wearing masks, and it never did make sense to simultaneously denigrate the wearing of masks while insisting on their necessity for health care workers except as a lazy way of saying we didn’t have enough of the good masks for health care workers. Both the WHO and other scientists should have said, we need proper masks for Health Care Workers because we are short, but in the meantime we encourage everyone to make and wear masks until we ramp up production. And it’s incredibly interesting to me how we had got so used to abundance that all protective equipment was used once and thrown away, when it’s now apparent that it can be sterilized and re-used, in some cases simply by storing it for 3-5 days at room temperature. My cloth masks go in the microwave for 40 seconds a couple times a day and then washed and dried properly every couple days – because there’s both folk wisdom and science behind that process. I’m sure your Shona friends didn’t need a scientific answer of how to handle a snake inside the house, they’ve probably got pretty good ways of dealing with one without consulting a zoologist for a Best Practice. To me, that’s part of Knowledge Management – who should we ask, how widely should we ask, have we tried something simple like putting some food out to lure the snake or keeping a mongoose (or maybe a honey badger) around as a pet?


From: Wycliffe Omanya, 6 May 2020 09:08 == Dear All,

As KM practitioners, we probably have been in situations where we see an organization and team feeling stuck about how to move forward with a work plan in this Covid-19 context. They know they need to implement but can’t do it all. Questions such as: How do you decide what to do first? In the short term, medium term? How do you decide what goes virtual and what needs to be postponed? How do learn and Adapt?

These are becoming regular conversations within organizations.

KnowSolve Consulting has developed an Activity Priority Model that can help organizations do this with clarity and objectivity. The model promotes prioritization, risk assessment, documentation of lessons learned to inform any future similar situations, and enables practice of real time adaptive management.

I have attached the model for your thoughts and feedback: Activity Priority Model Knowsolve.pdf

John Hoven, 6 May 2020 19:48

Charles questioned “the proportionality of responses and optimal timing of the drastic public health responses to COVID-19.”

We might use that as a way to articulate some general principles for Knowledge Management when acting and learning are both urgent.

The countries that have fared best are those who acted boldly at the first signs of the COVID-19 pandemic, when we knew almost nothing. That was critical, because this virus replicates so fast, even before people have symptoms.

We didn’t know that at first, so that knowledge wasn’t available to guide our decisions. However, we do know that in centuries past, cities that acted boldly at the first signs of a pandemic fared better than others. So bold action in the face of imminent disaster may be a good basic principle for KM when acting and learning are both urgent.

The world has also embraced the urgency of learning when we are ignorant in the face of imminent disaster. That may be another good basic principle for KM.

Another good basic principle for KM, which the world is just beginning to discover, is the need to act flexibly as we learn, in situations where acting and learning are both urgent.

We have learned that COVID-19 spreads through close personal contact, so bold action should focus on those settings: dense urban areas, nursing homes for the elderly, meatpacking plants, etc.

However, once again, we didn’t know that at first, so that knowledge wasn’t available to guide our decisions. A more reliable guide is dispersed decision-making — i.e., decision-making that is spread out among many actors — in situations where acting and learning are both urgent. The US has been served well by state governors taking responsibility, and it has been served badly by refusing to recognize non-US drug regulators.

Finally, when acting and learning are both urgent, they should work hand in hand, as in rapid prototyping, learning by doing, qualitative theory building, etc.

Jack Merklein, 6 May 2020 19:53

Not at $300 for a virtual event. Regardless of the topic, this is an opportunistic and slightly obscene price given the economic hardships many are enduring. If what they have to share might profoundly affect how KM can help mitigate the current health crisis then freely share it. Knowledge hoarding by any other name would still smell as...well, maybe Shakespeare doesn’t exactly work here.

Here is a description of the event:

'Knowledge Management in a time of crisis - lessons learned from COVID-19'. Featuring leading KM practitioners from organisations including NHS Health Education England, ARUP, Lloyds Bank, UNESCO and the Home Office, this is a great opportunity to learn how effective knowledge flows can help build resilience and adaptability.

Euphresia Luseka, 7 May 2020 12:39

Greetings from Kenya.

I have been following these discussions daily and I must appreciate the rich knowledge shared here by everyone. I have been following various topics on this platform and they have enriched my practice immensely despite not being a KMD specialist. In fact, when people congratulate me on my papers, presentations or trainings they don't know I am learning from this platform but for those keen on how to build up the skills, I always refer them to join this D-Group.

On my input on the subject in discussion which is contextualized to my profession's sector i.e. Water, I am a worried African Woman in Water on how knowledge is shared on these on-going webinars etc. I am glad to see more content on the topic on WASH and Covid-19 peaking up well however individual and organizational KMD products are nearly all the same; could it be because they are being designed by people in the same context from the same region?

My challenge is despite a sharp increase on KMD products on WASH and Covid-19, WHO presents the knowledge?

I have noted many posts here indicating that the current knowledge we have on the virus is something that we keep learning daily. Yet interestingly we gladly get invited to webinars whose titles are explicitly indicating Africa and its sub-regions as its context but ALL conveners and presenters are FROM and IN Europe so don't have first hand experience of what is going in the region on matters Covid-19. They however tell African stories, our progress, develop Organizational Covid-19 response strategies for their projects in Africa, share our work in comparative articles etc without any African featuring anywhere. They even give us recommendations on managing Africa's challenges without these 3 important questions: What has been the experience? What have you done as mitigation measures? What do you think could work better?

Last week I registered for AfWA webinar that had no woman in the panel yet we have women in Africa's water sector that can tackle the topic in discussion comprehensively. Since my country Kenya was sitting on the panel, I lobbied other women to request the M.D. of the water company to let a merited woman to sit on the panel. Both parties obliged our request and it was a wonderful session of 4 men and 1 woman!

KMDEV experts are usually at the front-line of preparing such webinars etc. It is my request as we seek, build and share sectoral knowledge on the pandemic please ensure the panelists have a regional balance, gender and age (youth) representation.

Africa got impactful knowledge on Covid-19; Senegal, Ghana, Uganda, Madagascar even my own country Kenya got alot to share, give us a chance - engage us!

Patrick Lambe, 8 May 2020 18:50

I agree Jack (although I wouldn’t use the word “obscene” given some pricing strategies I have seen), and I made a comment to this effect on the original LinkedIn post. I encourage others to do the same if they feel the same way.

By the way I am a member of CILIP, I think they do great work, but this pricing strategy in the current circumstances is just tone deaf, particularly when so many people are suffering financially, and where so many members of the community at large are pulling together and contributing their efforts for the common good.

I understand that a membership organisation has a financial stewardship responsibility for its members, but I don’t see how this pricing can be justified for a virtual event.

Here’s the original post: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/npoole_coronavirus-activity-6660828714902802432-6neU/ <https://www.linkedin.com/posts/npoole_coronavirus-activity-6660828714902802432-6neU/>

Peter J. Bury, 10 May 2020 13:22

Dear Euphresia and all,

You wrote: "KMDEV experts are usually at the front-line of preparing such webinars etc. It is my request as we seek, build and share sectoral knowledge on the pandemic please ensure the panelists have a regional balance, gender and age (youth) representation. Africa got impactful knowledge on Covid-19; Senegal, Ghana, Uganda, Madagascar even my own country Kenya got alot to share, give us a chance - engage us!"

I cannot agree more with you Euphresia. It is so sad to see.

I see two sides of this issue:

  1. "white privilege" about which we exchanged extensively ideas some weeks ago. I can't remember if we came up with workable strategies and concrete approaches to overcome this;
  2. the absence in pro-active attempts by "non-white privileged" people to take initiatives either at personal level (participating more in the plethora of online conversations) or at institutional level (initiating, advertising and offering (online) events themselves).

KM4Dev should certainly allow "positive discrimination" towards such initiatives. Wouldn't you, dear KM4Dev community member, agree?

  1. staysafe and contribute to fighting the negative consequences of Covid_19 BUT without neglecting other deadly diseases like Malaria which risks to again kill far far more people than Covid_19 ever will.

Charles Dhewa, 12 May 2020 13:58

I guess one of the reasons COVID-19 is called Novel is because we can't pretend to use case studies or literature review to make sense of it. Being novel, there is no meaningful literature to depend on. Policy makers are being forced into navigating difficult trade-offs between public health and the economy. It is the real Jambanja calling for New Knowledge Management.


Helen Gillman, 12 May 2020 14:35

Dear Charles and other contributors on this topic.

I am wondering: do we really need a "new KM", or "Rapid KM", or do we just need to do KM better and faster, adapting to new situations what we already know how to do? Do we need to learn how to make a stronger case for KM and learning in a crisis? Do we need to demonstrate the value of KM approaches and tools in helping communities, governments and organizations to learn and adapt rapidly. Do we need to get better at coming up with solutions and acting very quickly?

There are other factors of course. But, I think that many of us can act within our own spheres of influence to make a difference in this crisis. In my organization, we have come up with a fairly simple process for rapid learning and adaptation in our COVID19 response that connects lessons from our own experience with what we can learn from others, in order to inform decision-making. The approach has been welcomed across the organization – and a bonus is that it is a very concrete example to skeptics of what KM can do.

Charles Dhewa, 12 May 2020 15:07

Hie Helen,

I am wondering: do we really need a "new KM", or "Rapid KM", or do we just need to do KM better and faster, adapting to new situations what we already know how to do? Do we need to learn how to make a stronger case for KM and learning in a crisis? Do we need to demonstrate the value of KM approaches and tools in helping communities, governments and organizations to learn and adapt rapidly. Do we need to get better at coming up with solutions and acting very quickly?

I am sure it depends on context. Where some organizations had the luxury of waiting for all the information from the field in order to make a decision, COVID-19 has revealed the importance using inadequate or imperfect information to make real time decisions. Turning to the issue of whether organizations can learn from pandemics like COVID-19 I think organizations as institutions may not learn but individuals within those institutions are the ones who can learn although they may struggle to absorb and institutionalize their lessons.

Sarah Cummings, 12 May 2020 21:16

Dear Euphrasia

Many thanks for your post. I know that Peter (Bury) has also responded but I wanted to respond directly because the issues you are raising are also close to my heart - and to that of many other KM4Dev members too. I totally agree about the importance of "panelists having a regional balance, gender and age (youth) representation" and also recognise the tendency "to tell African stories, our progress, develop Organizational Covid-19 response strategies for their projects in Africa, share our work in comparative articles etc without any African featuring anywhere." These phenomena have serious implications for the fields of international development and development studies.

Following on what Peter was saying, I think the challenges to address such issues are systemic but that shouldn't stop us trying to redress the balance whenever we can at an individual (or niche) level. I think you slightly over-estimate the influence of the KM4Dev members - "KMDEV experts are usually at the front-line of preparing such webinars" - but, nonetheless, we should certainly make a stand on representation when we can.

I hope you might be able to join the knowledge cafe on Thursday - see my previous mail to this group a few minutes ago - because these are important issues to raise there too.

Arwen Bailey, 15 May 2020 11:13

Hi Helen

You have piqued my curiosity – and others’ I’m sure! Can you tell us more about what you are doing in your “fairly simple process for rapid learning and adaptation in our COVID19 response that connects lessons from our own experience with what we can learn from others, in order to inform decision-making.”?

Would love to know more and learn from what you are doing

Euphresia Luseka, 27 May 2020 12:39

I would like to add on matters SDG 10 from the perspective of people living with disabilities. Something that is essential to be thought about during the pandemic is definitely packaging covid-19 information and documenting it for the disabled. Should it be compulsory for all government or international development partners pressers, public addresses etc to have a sign language interpreter? Could we have written communication tools in braille as well? Are there platforms that provide participation of the disabled to share their experiences during the pandemic? How are they included in decision making. Basically are covid-19 communication tools and methodologies user friendly for the disabled?

It's also fantastic how all actors are realising the propositions of SDG 17. It's somewhat agreeable that the government, academic/research institutions and civil society have elaborate strategies for KMD. However for the private sector there is either no or adhoc mechanisms in place to manage KMD even during such a global crisis. Therefore, KMD for private sector during covid 19, what should it entail?

We have also seen governments that flattened the curve or registered zero deaths despite having infections, using a multi-sectoral approach in managing the pandemic. How can multi-sectoral KMD approaches be strengthened to curb covid-19?

Basically a few things I've been thinking about that I thought to share.

Jim Delaney, 29 May 2020 09:58

Dear Euphresia, Peter, and everybody,

Thanks for pointing out this issue of representation, which is very, very important - perhaps one of the most important KM4DEV issues that we as a community must grapple with. I’ve been cringing a lot lately both at the volume of webinars in recent weeks and in the complete lack of reflexivity regarding representation regarding who is speaking, and what issues and forms of knowledge are prioritized. Understanding of course that I look, sound, talk and even think a lot like those webinar presenters.

I personally do not feel that the ’non-privileged’ need to step up. I see and hear a wide variety of persons listening on webinars, asking questions, and engaging. The issue is not stepping up so much as invitation to speak or be heard. And those invitations are often within the control of those of us who convene.

I think that a lot of this comes down to supply side-incentives. Northern-based organizations ‘do’ convening and research. We generally have the budgets to do so, and these key global knowledge mobilization activities tend to be based out of global head offices, even if convened online. And the ways that we hire (you need right to work in London, Ottawa, New York, Paris…), the forms of knowledge that are prioritized (abstract, codified), the pool of people from whom we draw (fancy degrees) opens doors for some and closes them for others. So here we are, in 2020, when listening in to development knowledge brokering events leads one to believe that all relevant global knowledge on development is produced in the North. It’s not true, and It doesn’t have to be this way. We have the internet.

We’ve made a lot of progress in recent years making all male panels unacceptable. We're not there yet, but getting there. I think that drawing similar lines is necessary in global development - those of us who are privileged, born in and live in the North, should refuse to present on webinars that lack representation from the South, and even avoid listening in. After all, how useful can they really be?

I remember when in grad school, a group of new Ph.D. students in orientation visited a local community organization in Toronto to learn about their work and discuss community-based research. One new student asked our host what we could do to open up more opportunities for local racialized community researchers and activists to be heard. Her response still sticks with me. She stopped, breathed deeply and said that white people tend to take up a lot of space, and crowd others out. And that maybe we should just stop taking up so much space.

Best regards from Ottawa,

Helen Gillman, 29 May 2020 18:38

Hi Arwen.

<Can you tell us more about what you are doing in your “fairly simple process> <for rapid learning and adaptation in our COVID19 response that connects lessons> <from our own experience with what we can learn from others, in order to inform> <decision-making.”?>

Thanks for asking! My organization is the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) - we give loans to Member State countries to fund rural development programmes. The COVID-19 crisis is already having negative impact in poorer countries, especially in rural areas. IFAD has put together a "package" to respond to the crisis - although we are not an emergency response organization, we must be able to act very rapidly and appropriately.

The IFAD KM team proposed to management that learning lessons as the COVID-19 crisis unfolded, and providing timely knowledge-driven feedback to decision-makers, was perhaps as important as delivering our COVID-19 package itself. We launched an IFAD-wide community of practice focused to connect all staff with KM responsibilities, and more broadly, all people across the organization interested in KM – and especially how it could support IFAD’s COVID-19 response.

For now, the KM CoP is dedicated to facilitating an agile knowledge sharing space to collect frontline experience from IFAD and other agencies on the COVID-19 actions being implemented. Every two weeks, we convene a one hour discussion on Zoom to promote cross-regional knowledge sharing, exchange and learning on specific issues. Immediately after each session, the KM team prepares a two page learning note, summarizing the key points and learning. We provide links to relevant studies and/or good practice examples from other organizations to fill knowledge gaps identified. And we make two or three actionable recommendations to senior management on how to improve our COVID-19 response. We have also set up a central site on Sharepoint where documents from across our regional and country offices can be shared.

The initiative has attracted a lot of attention and we have had high attendance levels at the first two events. The management response has also been positive. It is a simple approach, and it is still early days, but it seems to be working well! One advantage is that people from across the organization, including management, are seeing KM in action and the difference it can make when you set aside time for discussion and learning.

Atsu Sename, 30 May 2020 10:37

Dear Helen Your KM initiative is very commendable. It is indeed simple with high added value. I would like to know if Togo (my country) participates in this initiative. I ask this question because I have tried several times to find a KM interlocutor within your representation in Togo but none of my attempts have found an answer. Thank you very much. Best regards

Euphresia Luseka, 2 June 2020 14:31

Dear Jim.

Thanks for this, these are my exact sentiments over the matter. Content and capacity is available however conveners will always have a huge role to play on equal participation for such learning fora.

In the same breadth I would like to add on matters SDG 10 from the perspective of people living with disabilities. Something that is essential to be thought about during the pandemic is definitely packaging covid-19 information and documenting it for the disabled. Should it be compulsory for all government or international development partners pressers, public addresses etc to have a sign language interpreter? Could we have written communication tools in braille as well? Are there platforms that provide participation of the disabled to share their experiences during the pandemic? Are these knowledge platforms as well that documents their views to be included in decision making and design of the pandemic management strategies? Basically are covid-19 communication tools and methodologies user friendly for the disabled?

It's also fantastic how all actors are realising the propositions of SDG 17. It's somewhat agreeable that the government, academic/research institutions and civil society have elaborate strategies for KMD. However for the private sector there is either no or adhoc mechanisms in place to manage KMD even during such a global crisis. Therefore, KMD for private sector during covid 19, what should it entail?

We have also seen governments that flattened the curve or registered zero deaths despite having infections, using a multi-sectoral approach in managing the pandemic. How can multi-sectoral KMD approaches be strengthened to curb covid-19?

Basically a few things I've been thinking about on the subject that I thought to share.