CTLab:KM4Dev Tech Inventory 2012
We are working through a structured set of questions based on the Action Notebook from chapter 10 of "Digital Habitats". See also notes in the Discussion tab above.
Purpose of KM4Dev
From home page of km4dev.org (also repeated in email footer):
"Knowledge Management for Development (KM4Dev) is a community of international development practitioners who are interested in knowledge management and knowledge sharing issues and approaches. Our main communication forum is the KM4dev Dgroup."
Peter: I noted several times, latest during the recent SA-GE Burkina Faso chapter meeting with me and Jaap, that many newbies are not at all aware that the main forum of KM4Dev is its Dgroup. Clearly the Ning site www.km4dev.org doesn't make this clear enough. It should!
Where is your community in its lifecycle?
From the recent "Internally Focused Conversation" launched by Jasmin Suministrado:
"Our community has grown from just 650 people in 2008 to now more than 2500 members coming from 114 countries and a widerange of sectors and development fields. We’ve seen the evolution of our activities from sporadic exchanges of emails and organizing events in North America and Europe to intensive conversations on the mailing list and Ning group, contributing as one community to other large projects (e.g. for the knowledge sharing toolkit and for Global Share Fairs) and organizing multi-lingualand regional KM4Dev events. Indeed, our growth has been tremendous, fuelled by the growing interest of members to do better KM work with greater impact on development."
KM4Dev's technology platform was last reviewed in 2008 when a decision was taken to adopt NING alongside DGroups.
- What is the community's current state of readiness for change? Is it comfortable in its current technology configuration? Is it stable and adapting (needing some new tools) or Growing and Restless (ready to add new functionality to its tool configuration)?
Peter: KM4Dev as such doesn't exist! It is important to be aware of this! To me there is no clear evidence that a ' community' (in a social sense exists). At most their is the inner group (200+?) of more active ' members' (is one a member of KM4Dev? In which sense of the word are we?) and a core group (15+) that consists to a large extend of members of the first (or second?) hour and hence remember a number of face-to-face meetings (most not regional!) that truely made them feel becoming a ' community member' .
I have the impression that there is a slightly nostalgic group of oldbies that would wish to not change too much. My gut feeling is that the enormous growth of KM4Dev requires new community technology. Ning was a first step. But the new technology in combination of much bigger numbers make that the nature and interaction in KM4Dev (on its platforms) is changing and more disparate. Is that bad? Is that good? Hard to tell. It certainly makes it more exciting in terms of things and people to discover! So... I'd say we are growing and restless.
How diverse is the community?
- What are the different types of members and what are their levels of participation?
Peter: as written above: oldbies and some newer ones adapting in the core group, oldbies and a slightly larger group experimenting new things in the active 200+ group and an enormous and rapidly growing group of people that lurk and use KM4Dev on its various, not very interlinked, platforms: wiki, dGroup, Ning, linkedIn (and a bit on Facebook, Youtube, twitter, friendfeed and similar). Is Google+ emerging? It should in my opinion!
- How spread apart are we in terms of location and time zones?
Peter: Pretty spread accross it's 2-3 core platforms: dGroups, Ning, wiki (in that order) and a bit of Twitter. Time zones? No, Language zones? Yes: spanish and french are apart, except those that master English. Sorry...... forgot the important Journal!!!
- What language(s) do members use?
Peter: do we consider spanish and french chapters being part of KM4Dev? It is not clear to me. Though SA-GE Burkina Faso wishes to be both itself and growing within global SA-GE as well as individually be part of KM4Dev. I know little about the spanish community.
- What other cultural or other diversity aspects may affect our technology choices?
Peter: I like the flexibility of Google+, but it is still in its infancy among KM4Dev' rs.
Openness: How connected to the outside world is your community?
- How much do you want to control the boundaries of your community?
Peter: no control. But I would be in favor or multilevel (paid and non paid) membership of KM4Dev.
- How does your community need to interact with other communities?
Peter: it doesn't but it does benefit from doing it. See CPsquare, ICT4D and similar.
Community Attitudes Toward Technology
4. Technology savvy: What are your community’s technology interests and skills?
- How interested is your community in technology?
- What is their capacity for learning new tools?
- What is the range of skills? If their interests and/or skills are diverse, could it cause conflict or distraction?
5. Technology tolerance: What is your community’s patience with technology?
- How tolerant are members of the adoption of a wide variety of tools?
- How many technological boundaries are they willing to cross—for example, sign in to more than one web-based tool, learn to use new tools, or give up old favorites? (This helps you understand what level of integration you need.)
6. Technology factors: What constraints are imposed by technology factors?
- What are your members’ technology constraints (e.g., bandwidth, operating systems, etc.)?
- How much time are members able to be online and from where (office, home, field)? Some people have limited online time, or are able to be online only in specific locations. Others are always on. Very diverse situations can affect participation.