Talk:KM4Dev Futures: landscapes of practice and systems convening

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Here is the chat transcript from the webinar on December 20, 2013:

Sabrish. K: Hey I am Sabrish, From God's Own Country- Kerala South India

Sabrish. K: I am an E-gov and mobile governance practitioner, who has over 19yrs experience in designing citicizen focused e-gov programs like Akshaya, eMpower Kerala, mobile governace project in Kerala\ Hi, I am with Terre des hommes as WASH (water sanitation hygiene) adviser, right now I am in Dhaka, Bangladesh, I am not feeling so well but still hope will be able to be in the webnair I am Laxman

Bev: Hi folks.. we'll be starting in just less than 40 minutes

Michelle Davis: Hi my name is Michelle Davis, I am a Communications Manager for Malaria Consortium, a UK international NGO working in malaria prevention and control and other communicable diseases in Africa and Southeast Asia

Bev: If you want to change/add your location or organization to your name, you can click on the drop down arrow at top right of "Attendeeds" and click on "Edit my information"

Bev: "Attendees"

Bev: Dont' know what time it is for you, but it's before 8 a.m. here ... we are just making some tea before we start

JDS: Hi This is John Smith from Portland ORegon.

Kelechi Ekuma: Hi all, my name is Kelechi Ekuma. I am a development practitioner and a Ph.D. researcher at the University of Manchester, UK. I’ve been involved in the development of free and open source and in training activists and organisations across South East Nigeria, in places where access and opportunity are few. I have been enabling leaders from isolated/disadvantaged areas learn to use free and open source softwares and internet, who in turn enable their community to become connected

JDS: can you hear me? I"m playing the role of ost this morning

Bev: John, I don't hear you if you are talking

Bev: Can anyone else hear John?

Laxman Kharal: I can't hear

Bev: yes

Laxman Kharal: yes

Kelechi Ekuma: yes

Bev: Fishbowl type of format

Bev: 4 or 5 people will participate with audio and video

Bev: Everyone who is listening .. if you are interested in joining you should raise your hand

Bev: Then you can join the audio

Bev: "Putting your hand up" means that you want to join the audio

Bev: Otherwise just put your comment and question in chat

Bev: Is our sound working?

Bev: Anyone can join later

Bev: Your sound isn't working Laxman

Nancy White: I'm going to put the URL in DGroups again. The link in NING is a bit malformed...

Bev: Can you try and speak

Nancy White: I'm getting a lot of breakup from your video, John

Laxman Kharal: I cant hear

Nancy White: Freezing up a lot

Bev: You can't hear anything Laxman?

Laxman Kharal: yes I can hear now

Bev: Or the sound is just breaking up for you?

Nancy White: I see John's green mic light up, but he is frozen on my screen.

Bev: He's fine on mine

Nancy White: Must be my side. Will go and close my (too many) tabs

JDS: Original title: from CoPs to Landscapes of Practice

Kelechi Ekuma: the sound is freezing at my end

JDS: both have worked with CoPs...

JDS: both practitioners and write theory.

JDS: share language now using as they move from CoPs to Landscapes of Practice.

JDS: so will start with a conceptual view but willing and glad to focus on operational tactical

JDS: EW: STarting 25 years ago to look at the birth of CoPs.

JDS: studies of aprenticeship with Jean Lave to come up with a new theory of learning

JDS: to address issues in education.

Nancy White: (Alas, still no audio here)

Bev: Please feel free to type any thoughts or questions as we go along

JDS: intention was initially to look at master / student relationship, but noticed that many more were involved.

Nancy White: Maybe turn off video?

Olivia: Hi folks I'm Olivia Millard, I work for The Nature Conservancy and I'm located in Santa Cruz, California.

Bev: John - should we pause to see if people can hear?

JDS: theory of learning: trajectory into a cop.

Olivia: I can hear just fine!

Bev: ok

JDS: me too

Michelle Davis: I can hear many thanks

Nancy White: I now have audio

Bev: :-)

JDS: drivers were identity / intention and the meaning. of the practice.

Nancy White: (spoke too soon. Gone again)

JDS: so took CoP for granted.

JDS: oops.

JDS: audio gone for bev

Olivia: yup

JDS: Bev: in portugal looking at interntaional communicators on their path.

Nancy White: Try making sure only one mic is activated at once

JDS: a person who performed well but did not speak English so well.

JDS: she spent a lot of time in a network.

JDS: this was before networks were fashionable.

JDS: Bev realized she was involved in a CoP. the wman said: "yes that's it!"

Nancy White: Alas, for some reason I can't get audio here so going out and will try coming back in or resort to the recording.

JDS: EW: big difference. in one case CoP was taken for granted.

JDS: The network was different. learning is taken for granted, but the network is formed for the moment.

JDS: the question cmes up: "can we start a community of practice". Please give us 5 by christmas.

JDS: the theoretical cncept became a tool for KM.

JDS: Over the years, work moved from CoPs to Networks

JDS: as consultants EW and B brought in to bring people together.

JDS: Transparency and ACcountability... (Florencia not shown)

JDS: civil society organizations (local, regional, international,)AND funders AND academics.

JDS: different constituencies that normally don't have anything other than transactional communcation

JDS: usually NGOs are filling out forms requesting funds.

JDS: Academics ask questions that are no use to NGOs.

JDS: so not an obvious CoP.

JDS: now work is more and more bringing people together across constituenceis

joel: i have to find a new hot spot by now Joel

JDS: the space to gather people like this is an intervention

JDS: the conversations are "boundary conversations"

JDS: between people who say, "why should I be interested in spending time with you when we are in different locations in the learning landscape?"

JDS: REMINDER: If anybody is interested in joining the fishbowl, pleaswe raise your hand!!

Nancy White in Seattle: Trying second browser option, still audio breakup is unitelligible here. Must be the snow. ;-) Regretfully giving up.

JDS: There has to be a new understanding of the domain of a community which transcends the different practices.

JDS: Sorry to hear that, Nancy!

JDS: Participation involves giving up on own practice a bit, focusing on the boundaries, across boundaries.

Nancy White in Seattle: First World problem. Tech doesn't work!

JDS: when there is a space with many different constituents with different practices, call that a landscape.

JDS: across boundaries ("places") in the landscape, that's a boundary encoutner.

JDS: you can see an open space with a number of communities.

JDS: the disconnection is a missed communitiy potential.

gloria: it is very interesting but I have to leave. will it be possible to hear this conversation later?

JDS: boundary overlaps are new possibilities.

JDS: (photo is the 1st days, with arms closed, some skepticism)

JDS: EW: we are calling this a reconfigurationi of the learning landscape.

JDS: hills, rivers and roads.

JDS: the hills are colonized by different communities that claim expertise, power, ownership of the landscape.

JDS: Bev: the landscape view of how we learn is also related to how we see knowledge.

JDS: (Photo is a legal library)

JDS: "this is the body knowledge of my profession"

Kelechi Ekuma: I have a question. There are instances where people in the same profession, do not necessarily share thesame common interest on particular issues. How do we go about creating a cop in this instance? Morever there are fundamental differences like religion that may not allow 'the boundry ecounter' to be any meaningful in practice. How do we deal with such a dilema?

JDS: the body of knoweldge of a profession IS itself a landscape of practice

JDS: Kelechi, would you like to join the fishbowl?

Kelechi Ekuma: My system does not have a webcam unfortunately

JDS: ok.

JDS: Thank you Kelechi -- that's a great quesiton.

JDS: that led to one of the papers that E+B shared.

JDS: it's a very common problem that many of us share.

JDS: Too bad that Florencia has left, because she did this work

JDS: the conveners need to see the landscape, and have conversations voer the years.

JDS: these communities are fragile, because people have to see a second order reason to come together.

JDS: in the case of TAC, it took a lot for them to come to cape town.

JDS: So much that we don't know...

JDS: we don't know whether we made a difference.

JDS: Systems converners have a "bigger picture" they have an idea of what COULD happen.

JDS: they are juggling with different people in the landscape, slightly adjusting the story.

JDS: aligning with people's interest and the bigger interest.

JDS: you could say they are quite manipulative, but it's in the service of the landsacpe.

JDS: they work at the big picture as well as piquing keyk peole's interest in the landscape, as well as aligning it with the community.

JDS: systems convener: big picture, nitty gritty, aligning with own itnerest.

JDS: in that picture before, what is not visible is all the phone calls beforehand.

JDS: so, bringing people together required calling every single person to engage them beforehand.

JDS: to engage people... with the vision about what was in it for THEM and for the larger community.

JDS: it is extra work -- to work the landscape.

JDS: it takes a special kind of person or a team.

JDS: we all face a lot of pressure to produce short-term results.

JDS: deliverables by certain dates.

JDS: working with a landscape is very slow.

JDS: takes time to develop relationships.

JDS: Systems conveners playing with the time issue.

JDS: Florencia was very good at creating little projects to engage people.

Bev: back

Laxman Kharal: let some boy else come in the fish ball

JDS: Bev talking about the public accoutns committees.

JDS: an example of how opportunistic B&E have been with this approach.

JDS: this ilustrates the big and small.

JDS: bottom left picture.

JDS: public accounts committees are suspicious of the media and visa versa.

JDS: thee's a serious breakdown in commuication.

Laxman Kharal: I will come when I may have anything to share

JDS: there would a lot of benefits from having a better relationship.

JDS: it turned out that the media and public accounts committees were IN THE SAME HOTEL.

JDS: decide to have a role play.

JDS: where the publica ccounts committee held a hearing. got ifferent people within the process.

JDS: invited the mdeia to come and observe and report on the role play.

JDS: members of parliament played the wiley ministers.

JDS: the mdia went away and brought back a journalistic report.

JDS: theny then discussed how well the media had done, what got wrong, what could have been better.

JDS: public acounts saw what they could do to make it work.

JDS: the thing took a whole day.

JDS: the convener saw the opporutnity when both were having separate meetings in the hotel.

JDS: he organized an event that would be interesting to both sides and be safe.

JDS: this shows how a landscape perspective forces communies to be oriented toward the ladnscape.

JDS: both sides need to have some insights into the practice of the other.

JDS: B&E now focus on the broader landscape.

JDS: it's not good enough to be a good journalist, it's important to have insight into other practices that affect yours.

JDS: insight about the landscape itself, so that your participation includes a vision of how the landscape works.

JDS: Bev: here have you seen people being successful in bringing poeple across the boudnaries?

Guy: The agency I work for now talks in terms of "One Agency" which is, arguably, an attempt to get folk to orient their own perspective across a braoder landscape.

RobP: Trying to

Guy: It is certainl;y an attempt to get us to buid bridges between silos.

JDS: Bev: poeple don't understand how much work is ivnovled around talking about "one agency"

JDS: it's somnething organizations need to pay atteniton to.

Guy: Totally agree: it trips off the tongue but does need effort. But effort is well worth it!

Bev: yes

JDS: EW: not that everyone is the ame, there are still hills because people have deep competence.

Guy: I agree. Would I be right in saying that there is nothing wrong in silos per se, it is the bridges between that we need to focus on them?

Bev: yes

Bev: boundaries are learning assets

JDS: The change is, "we are taking the boundaries as learning opportunities"

JDS: not just practices, but boundaries are learning assets.

Bev: It may be a bridge

JDS: managers have to invest in boundary encounters.

Bev: but it may also be other things

JDS: from the KM perspective, it's a new dimension about what it takes to creat a learning organiztion.

Guy: For me what seems to be driving this is a growing acknowldegment of complexity in our work. A move away from simple linear processes.

RobP: i'm speaking you can't hear me

Bev: a boundary meeting, a boundary visit ....

JDS: Bev: it's easy to say, "our work is complex". but need to deal with boundaries.

JDS: they are not necessarily to cross, or ignore.

JDS: but to work across them.

JDS: need to pay attention both to boundaries and what is happening inside the boundaries.

JDS: that is a way to deal with complexity.

Olivia: This is incredibly timely for me - my organization is now introducing "Practices" which is basically everyone who works in, say, freshwater. Within which, there are probably numbers of topical CoPs to be discovered. I've been trying to clarify our terminology/concepts and also understand whether there are significant differences between the concepts, enough to worry about. Now I'm being asked to help organize the very first one. So this is incredibly helpful! I would volunteer for the fishbowl but I'm not presentable or necessarily coherent - put my back out yesterday and under the influence a bit

JDS: it's a subtle work.

Guy: Bev, that is a helpful way of thinking about it. Thanks!

JDS: EW: commenting on a meeting in South Korea about budget and planning people

JDS: He asked: why not give time to talk about the boundary?

JDS: a subtle dance: accepting the boundary and working on it.

Maria Veronica Gottret: What would be appropriate incentives for crossing these boundaries when they are acknowledge?

RobP: I can't even see a mike button. Sorry, i've arrived late, this may have been covered already.I see John notes landscape idea forces us to take note. Not sure if that is the word Etienne or Bev sued. But myimmeideate reaciton is, i can think of ways of gmaing this systems traightaway. it's not just about people with abilities. Other people have to want to take aprt in this way.I have worked in an org where some people werre very good at working across boundaries, and others were busily fdigging ditches around their competencies to keep other people out. So it's an attitude thing on the part of individuals, and a cultural thing= for the organisations.

Michelle Davis: Hi John, I can't join your fishbowl, but I would like to ask a question. I agree and am interested in Bev’s comment about the time it takes to convene across complex landscapes and how we might explore ways of speeding this process up. We are currently running mhealth projects that use sms technology to share real-time data on cases of malaria (this could be another disease). I am interested in how we think communities of practice can input into and connect with projects and practices that transmit and receive data/information so quickly?

JDS: People have to see that there is smething for them.

JDS: that's part of the systems convener art.

Maria Veronica Gottret: Thanks for your great response.... This means we need to identify and make benefits explicit

Bev: No problem, Rob... do you see a little telephone icon at the top?

JDS: EW: sometims the systems convener role is to manage vertically. working with senior level to get time, resources, facilitation.

JDS: systems convening is much bigger than facilitation.

JDS: very interested in the verticle and the horizontal.

JDS: funders and others have to see the value, too.

Kelechi Ekuma: Most recent critical reviews of CoPs highlight that many programs are not only poorly grounded in theory, but also lack consistent conceptual and analytical frameworks. Inadequate attention to understanding the environmental factors influencing learning in practice means that programmes are not usually tailored to meet local needs. Indeed, insufficient evidence of what actually takes place in different contexts and little accountability about results of CoPs means that unproven assumptions and potentially inappropriate interventions persist. What is been done to deal with these issues, especially regarding the need for evaluation?

JDS: EW: agree with RobP's comment.

JDS: people who are good at crossing boundaries are often igonored, seen as less competent within the boundaries.

JDS: John reads Michelle dAvis' question.

JDS: EW: these data have to connect to multiple practices.

JDS: don't know how important it is that communities have insight about what data is collected.

JDS: but to start thinking of data not just as transmission, but as a flow within the landscape.

JDS: mgiht be an itneresting thing to udnerstand.

JDS: who does what, who collects, etc.

JDS: bev, not sure udnerstand the question fully.

JDS: Bev: often orgs want CoPs to help transmit information more quickly.

JDS: if management try to use CoPs for that, the CoPs usually fail. they can rarely be used.

JDS: projects move quickly if they are owned by members, but if used by management, thigns won't go quickly.

Olivia: I'm very interested in Kelechi's question. I have created a very draft "Logic Model" for evaluating the success of CoPs at my organization but it could use some rigorous peer review - and, I have yet to really see an evaluation plan rigorously implemented.

JDS: EW: Kelechi's comment is a very important one.

JDS: in sme sense there are 2 camps in the quesiton that Kelechi is bringing up.

RobP: How does boundary worker gain status in a world where specialisation is increasingly privileged?

JDS: one camp: the "evidence based camp" and the "local knowledge camp"

JDS: this is precisely where boundary interactions need to take place.

JDS: research rigorous method and theory are important but they can't subsume local practice.

JDS: don't romanticize either side.

JDS: romanticizing one side of the boundary over another is not hso helpful.

Nancy White: Olivia, Ese Emheri at World Bank has some stuff on indicators for her CoPs that might be of interest.

JDS: Bev: question of evaluation... so many using the framework that Bev, Etienne, and Marten wrote is being widely used.

JDS: used to say, "can't be evaluated" but now it's much more frequently being used.

JDS: EW: re Rob: trying to create a language ...

JDS: don't want to deny the value of specialization, but need a language to talkabout the value that someone brings.

JDS: until have a language to talk about work and systems convening, it's diffuclt for management to give proper recognition.

JDS: management is a field that is very dependent on langauge.

RobP: Good - I see that. It's just that there are tensions working the other way which makes the effort larger.

Olivia: Bev, I have looked at yours - thanks very much for it; it's very useful! Curious whether you used it on live CoPs, and if so, what does that look like in application?

RobP: Indeed.

Maria Veronica Gottret: Is Bev, Etienne and Marken framework an open source? If so, where can it be accesed?

Guy: Interestingly, one of the most challenging boundaries in my organization is the boundary between the ICT 'tecchies' and the rest of us!

Maria Veronica Gottret: It seems that it would be great to have a community of practice to work on assessing the benefits of this efforts to make them explicit

Etienne: Yes, Maria, the framework is open source

Etienne: It is available on our website

RobP: To Guy - oh yes, definitely

Nancy White: http: //

Maria Veronica Gottret: great.. thanks a lot!!!

Etienne: and I should say that the publication is a bit out of date now

Guy: Excellent discussion - many thanks. I like walking so love the idea of being able to spend time at work thinking of landscapes!!!

Etienne: the framework has evolved through use

Etienne: and we are working on a revised version

Nancy White: Thank you John for typing since I could not get the audio to work.

Laxman Kharal: Thanks, it was good to listen and understand the concept

Olivia: As you can tell from my comments, I'm very interested in the very practical aspects of today's conversation. Your description of how Florencia (I think?) went about ginning up her CoP was very useful. I see a whole host of phone calls in my future!

RobP: Many thanks too; I think landscape has a lot of legs in it, pardon the pun.

Michelle Davis: A very useful discussion thanks

Etienne: LoL, Rob

JDS: sharing the value creationf ramework.

Olivia: I'd very much like to see the updated version!

Maria Veronica Gottret: That is a great idea!!

Kelechi Ekuma: Thank you all. It was very informative. I am taking away alot

Guy: I will take away a sense that the notion of boundaries and reaching across them in an intentional way is important and worth investing time and effor t in

Olivia: Thanks!

RobP: Thank you too

Bev: Thanks everyone!

JDS: thansk everyone!

Guy: thanks once again!