About me

[Also check the annotated list of all posts on this blog]

My name is Ewen Le Borgne. I was born in Brittany, France and live now in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia). I work for the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) as knowledge sharing and communication specialist. This blog is my space to reflect about the fascinating world of social change and learning, knowledge management (KM), borrowing from my work at ILRI and whatever other occasion life presents me. I hope this page sheds some light onto who I am, what I care for and what I blog about. There is no learning as deep and valuable as social: I value dialogue on this blog, so feel free to reply, comment, rate and engage to keep the dialogue open. Cheers!

Ewen Le Borgne

Welcome to Ewen’s world – make it yours too!

Who I am: my (professional) development path

My interest for social learning goes back to observing how my fellow human beings communicate with one another, when I was a very quiet and not so sociable child (that time is long gone ha ha ha). That interest became a professional hobby developing in stages: After my master’s degree in communication, I worked for the London-based web design agency Wax New Media (now defunct Wax Digital), working on web marketing. The online planet split wide-open in front of me. A good first step.

From there I moved on to IRC the Holland-based International Water and Sanitation Centre and worked on the corporate website and the news services of IRC in French and Spanish: Sources Nouvelles and Boletin de Noticias. Moving from the superficial glitz of marketing to the seriousness of information management was quite interesting in some way but also rather dry. I realised that for someone working in a development cooperation agency, I didn’t travel and more importantly I didn’t get to work with our partners in Africa and Latin America much at all. How could I make sense of who they are, the conditions under which they work, their perspective on life? This was not enough.

In 2005 I moved to another department within IRC which brought me to work much more closely with our partner organisations in Africa (Burkina faso, Ghana) and Latin America (Colombia, Honduras). The idea of the RCD 18-country programme in which I was then involved was to help partners develop into resource centre networks – independent networks providing knowledge and information services. The focus definitively shifted from simple information management to knowledge management and crucially knowledge sharing. Those were precious years to develop a very personal experience in working with Southern partners, in facilitating processes and workshops, in working on applied knowledge management, communication and M&E.

But the real ‘aha moment’ was when I discovered KM4DEV. My IRC colleague Jaap Pels had brought me on to the mailing list of KM4Dev and in 2006 he convinced me to attend my first face-to-face KM4Dev meeting in Brighton. It deeply changed my own approach to work and forever put my attention to ever more participatory approaches and interactive facilitation methods such as the world cafe or Open Space Technology. I became a core group member in April 2007 and helped organise the annual KM4DEV events in Zeist (2007), Almada (2008) and in 2009 in Brussels. And since late 2009 I am also a senior editor of the KM4Dev journal. KM, knowledge sharing and learning have been the backbone of my professional work and the greatest source of energy and inspiration ever since.

What I care for and blog about

There are three strands in my work: 

  • Communication (my original niche),
  • Monitoring and evaluation (though less so since I’ve joined ILRI),
  • Knowledge sharing/management and learning.

What follows hopefully gives an idea about what I (can) do in each strand, and with what perspective I do it. For each of these strands I think and write, I work alone and in teams, with colleagues from various countries, I train and coach, I chat and brainstorm, and I laugh a lot.

Communication: To communicate effectively, strategically and interpersonally, at all levels.

Monitoring and evaluation (M&E): Transforming M&E into simple and effective learning processes that help everyone.

Knowledge sharing/management (KM) and learning: Building upon what is out there, connecting with others, failing safely, reflecting and learning together, making more sense, improving collectively and throughout (continually adaptive) and realising ourselves individually.

I am a member of two interesting initiatives in the KM for development world:

My outlook and hope: keeping on promoting and implementing social change for more self-empowerment and more cooperation, through more learning and more communication. I am focusing more and more on system dynamics, innovation systems, the dynamic and role of networks, on complexity theories and on cognitive science (to understand how the brain works and how it influences the way we listen, remember, talk, think, learn and innovate).

Where to follow me?

Influences, references
Aside from the original Master’s degree in communication, I have not followed any formal education on any of the fields mentioned above – it’s all been ‘learning by doing’. But I do have sources of inspiration: Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King and at a closer level KM4DEV and its fabulous individuals, Dave Snowden’s challenging and ‘off-the-beaten-track’ KM thinking related to safe failing and complexity, complexity theories, IDS’s work on capacity development, the CGIAR network focus on learning in research, Wageningen University and their body of work on multi-stakeholder processes, experiential learning, action research, and so much more that has in common to focus on connecting and (self) empowering people to learn, share and spread the word…
Finally, over the time I have developed a professional mantra which captures much of the above in a way: Fun, focus and feedback.

[Disclaimer: the ideas, opinions, views expressed in this blog in no way represent the official view of the International Livestock Institute/ILRI. They represent my personal opinion (Ewen Le Borgne) and I invite you to either comment on this blog publicly or to get back to me personally on e.leborgne[at]cgiar.org to clarify or discuss any issue about the ideas exposed in this blog].

5 thoughts on “About me

  1. Pingback: KM | Afajun's Blog

  2. Merci Lionel – je serais heureux de converser avec toi en français quand tu veux. Le domaine des ressources humaines est effectivement un domaine clé dans la gestion des connaissances (GdC) et malheureusement trop souvent déconnecté des autres préoccupations typiques de la GdC.

    Au plaisir de te reparler et qui sait, de te revoir tôt ou tard !

  3. Salut Ewen ! Ces sujets sont passionnants, et, de plusieurs points de vue, en lien avec mon job actuel. Si seulement j’étais meilleur en anglais…
    Lionel LEMARECHAL (back from the past)

  4. Hey Ewen, great posts, and very interesting – especially the knowledge management stuff: I’d love if you could contact me so I could tell you a bit about a new mobile project we am working on…I think you might have some good insight :)

  5. The back-story to why you do what you do and the sense of current and future directions is really nice to read Ewen. Putting the personal on the line more is a big step but well worth it for your readers. Thanks for being courageous.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s