A new home for knowledge management at CIAT
The need to strengthen knowledge management (KM) has been the subject of numerous discussions at CIAT, and the importance of this activity is clear to most of CIAT staff. Mainstreaming KM is essential for reinforcing our Center’s culture of teamwork, partnership, and learning.
To make the best use of CIAT’s Knowledge Management capacity, a new Communications and Knowledge Management group has been formed. Starting 2014, the group will be responsible for strengthening the role of KM and learning for development across CIAT. Building on previous CIAT and CGIAR experience, we will seek to mainstream KM principles and practices in the work of CIAT staff and their partners, with the aim of enhancing our internal integration and participation in external networks.
Our KM Objectives for 2014
1. Work towards the uptake of research results
- Based on experiences and KM support for ongoing climate change work in Colombia, design a KM-for-development model that can be applied to other projects within and beyond CIAT.
- Implement KM interventions for two projects based on clear impact pathways – if possible one each from AGBIO and Soils Research Area.
- Develop, as a pilot activity, information or educational products based on promising research results for multiple audiences, with support of agricultural education specialists and master students with knowledge about instructional design
2. Foster teamwork and integration internally
- CIAT personnel are familiar with CIAT Strategy 2014–2020 and understand their role in its implementation. This requires that we develop products that are fun, easy to understand, and instructive.
- A joint project proposal that involves all CIAT research areas and serves as a replicable pilot study. The proposal will encompass multiple research areas as well as cross-cutting themes.
- A new intranet site for knowledge management and sharing. CIAT’s current intranet is obsolete and will be replaced with a new one that is more conducive to sharing knowledge, building and supporting communities, and facilitating collaborative work.
3. Assure solid data and information management
- Support the implementation of the open access policy in accordance with CGIAR implementation guidelines.
- Develop and implement data management processes for all CIAT.
- Assure sound library and information management services.
KM in the CIAT strategy 2014-2020
CIAT was among the first centers to pioneer KM approaches in CGIAR, and as a result, we have made significant progress in this area. For example, the Center actively uses social media for web-based discussions and content creation, and we employ collaborative practices and tools for online and face-to-face interactions. We have also helped develop innovative KM approaches, such as learning alliances and participatory impact pathway analysis, which have proven effective for enhancing development outcomes through continuous learning cycles.
Nonetheless, we still have a long way to go toward incorporating KM principles and practices more thoroughly into our research agenda. For example, we can do a better job of sharing and discussing research progress with partners to speed the use of results and to reinforce learning. Likewise, through KM interventions aided by new information technologies, we can help improve smallholders’ access to resources that help them improve their farm productivity and competitive ability.
KM will also help CIAT create research products in a more collaborative manner that makes them more suitable for diverse audiences. For this purpose, we will make research data and results more readily available, in keeping with CGIAR policy on open access and data management. In addition, the Center will explore new KM and communications approaches for strengthening the influence of research results on the development of new policies and practices.
CIAT will take decisive steps to accelerate KM mainstreaming with respect both to the Center’s internal operations and the external networks through which our researchers work. For this purpose, the Center will steadily build the capacity of our staff to incorporate KM tools and methods into their work. As we become more involved in multi-stakeholder platforms that facilitate interaction and promote learning for change, it will be particularly important to improve the skills of our staff in facilitation, mentoring, and networking and in the use of social media and participatory research methods.