Une communauté de pratique francophone – duplicating my identity or celebrating our diversity?

That’s it, the francophone community of practice about knowledge management for development is standing on its legs: SA-GE was created on the back of the francophone discussion that took place in Brussels on 5 October 2009. It represents a combination between Savoirs and Gestions and that name itself is the result of a long discussion started in Brussels and that still keeps quite a few people ‘perplexes‘ (including me); yet, at the end of the day, what matters is what goes on on the platform, not what is going on with its title.

Anyway the discussion group site is here: http://dgroups.org/Community.aspx?c=532af1c1-1d65-419c-a52c-7af6c8b7451a; you can register on to it (provided you speak French and have some interest in knowledge management/sharing for development, that is 😉 following this link: http://su.pr/7h3yPF or alternatively contact me to get on it.

It’s an interesting initiative because there is a lot of knowledge to be shared between francophones – we have been – actively or not and consciously or not – sidelined by the global discourse in English (oh, am I writing in English here?). And perhaps because a lot of francophones are good at talking i.e. face-to-face rather than writing, not a hell of a lot has happened in terms of creating text-based communities of practice (CoPs). If I’m wrong, I’d be happy to hear about very successful large francophone CoPs in the field of development.

This time, SA-GE stems from the global KM4DEV community so it comes with some kind of legated identity but hopefully it will develop its own dynamics and discourse based on peculiar areas of interest etc. And that’s the fascinating side of being part of this new community of practice: observing perhaps entirely different patterns of discourse emerging. The very use of different words has an impact on one’s worldview. Insisting on ‘capitalisation’ and its integrated approach is not quite the same as the toolkit-approach of the Anglophone world… Let’s see what flares up.

As I said on a previous post, for me it will also mean developing a split personality between the global (English-speaking) and the Francophone groups. Though if discourses and agendas differ between the two there could be a really great opportunity to share across communities, to get different world views acquainted with each other (and hopefully to solve my multiple personality disorder, at least partly)…

The increasing specialisation in different language groups may well pose the threat of creating new silos, but bridging and connecting silos

Blending cereals from different silos to get a healthy mix...

(or bashing them down to create only one big market of grains happily mixing with each other on the edges) will become all the more essential for that reason. And if we’re good at bridging, we should be one step closer to recognising multiple knowledges and the beautiful diversity of this world. A natural diversity that reinforces us rather than an over-engineered conformity that weakens us, as testifies the impoverishment of nature in the face of our apprentice wizardry: think decreasing bio-diversity because of us engineering nature as a landscape and encouraging monoculture.

Alors à quand les premières discussions sur SA-GE ?


Published by Ewen Le Borgne

Collaboration and change process optimist motivated by ‘Fun, focus and feedback’. Nearly 20 years of experience in group facilitation and collaboration, learning and Knowledge Management, communication, innovation and change in development cooperation. Be the change you want to see, help others be their own version of the same.

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