Looking back to move forward

Just taking a short pause to look at the past 5 months. The most active months of my blogging life thus far. So this is a good  occasion to see what ground has been covered and what remains to be covered in the next few weeks and months, with the hope to see how KM, learning and facilitation can play a crucial role in development work and empowerment more widely.

Will knowledge safeguard freedom (painting by Uzo Egonu)

Will knowledge safeguard freedom (painting by Uzo Egonu)

Many shoots and some tools

After starting this new year of fun, focus and feedback I started a series of ‘shoot posts’ to reflect in short bursts on what could be big ideas, among others for development work:

And also what seem like dead-ends:

I also started a new series of posts that looks at information and communication technology ‘Tinkering with tools’, with now two posts on Yammer and on LinkedIn.


Over the past five months, a whole chunk of my work has been around facilitation of events and processes and I have therefore written a fair bit about it: the net value of engaging and networking with other participants at events, how to harness the power of introverts (I just covered introverts and social media a few days before), as well as three posts about the secrets of magic facilitation (post 1 about the political field, post 2 and post 3 about the strategic design).

Among the events which I attended or facilitated in that period, I particularly reflected on a knowledge management workshop I gave for some friends’ very promising think tank, a very interesting workshop from the Information Knowledge Management – emergent programme through two posts on (a.o.) participation and accountability and finally a wonderful but challenging workshop on social learning in climate change.

Learning and knowledge management

Still, this blog aims at unpacking knowledge management and learning more than anything else, either from a conceptual side or from a practical side (such as how to put learning loops in practice). It was timely for my work to think about how to power communication with KM, thinking about the fact that reinventing the wheel is not always as bad as the common KM orthodoxy would admit and recognising the incredible profile of some women in knowledge sharing for International Women’s Day. Finally, in relation with work I’m doing for the community of practice ‘KM4Dev’ I also thought about how to assess the wealth of communities of practice.

In this whole period, two of the most successful posts on the blog have been about the eternal debate ‘what is knowledge’ (where I personally move away from the idea of knowledge as a commodity that can be transferred) and the Portrait of the modern knowledge worker.

What next then?

Phew! That was a lot.
And lots more is cooking up in the next phase.

  • I will be shifting my focus back on multi-stakeholder processes again (as I will be preparing a training workshop for facilitators of ‘innovation platforms’)
  • and on the monitoring/assessment of knowledge work as we are working on this at ILRI.
  • The ‘chemistry of magical facilitation’ series should be finalised too;
  • I also have a couple of ideas for the ‘tinkering with tools’ series and for the ever successful ‘stock-taking’ series.
  • Finally, I’d like to spend more time about deeper reflections on empowerment, enterprise 2.0 and the changes that social media and networked learning bring to the  world, the way Esko Kilpi and Harold Jarche are reflecting – obviously without having the pretention of being as good as they are.

And other posts will come with last minute and ‘spur of the moment’ inspiration.

Sounds like the next 7 months might be just as busy if not more… So place your orders for blog posts and let’s see how we can further understand this world of networked learning. And as it happens, it’s good learning practice to look back to move forward…


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