The little secrets of collaboration: When empathy finally flips ‘Me’ over to ‘We’


Collaboration often starts off from a place where a collection of relatively self-centred individuals decide to work together. The self-centredness is not a problem per se, it’s a fact. Though I was recently reminded in a Blink about ‘Ego is the enemy‘ that one can be unreasonably self-centred too but that’s a digression). In any […]

The little secrets of collaboration: The opaque, empathetic, talking-listening balancing act


As I continue with this mini series on the secrets of collaboration, an important angle dawns on me: Among collaborators, where is the sweet spot between talking vs. listening? And I mean: how do we each balance it out in order to truly be in a genuinely collaborative approach? Of course this is a silly […]

The little secrets of collaboration: Assume good intent


My former employer’s Director General used to say, almost ad nauseam: ‘always assume good intent’ At some point, it kind of became formulaic. No one seemed to be listening to that particular message of his any more. And the gossips and rumours went on as they always do – and indeed always did. But the […]

Do we *need* to disagree? Or rather acknowledge our different perspectives?


The thirst for new ideas is a beautiful thing! In the process of unearthing new ideas, though, we sometimes lose the plot a bit. One of the (relatively) recent sources of innovations is to look into failures and celebrating failures through failure fairs and the likes etc. Great idea indeed if you pitch this well […]

‘Scale up’ your empathy, not your ‘pilot initiative’


I always felt there was a problem with scaling up. And this week it dawned on me much more clearly what the problem was. For a while, I thought that while the activities of a given initiative could not easily be scaled up, perhaps the conditions in which they were taking place could be scaled […]

Moving on after nearly 6 years in Ethiopia, in 6 epitomising posts of the ‘habesha phase’


This Friday – 2 June 2017 – I will be leaving Ethiopia as a resident for good. I will still be working with ILRI but based in The Hague, the Netherlands. Personal matters have taken precedence over professional ones and we have to be back in Europe. It’s a pity in some way, but it’s […]

Dedication and determination, in the name of CoP’s


Communities of practice are cool again in my corner of the world. They were always around, but it seems they really are coming back in a big way. From the recent Knowledge Management for Development Journal issue on the topic of CoPs, to the couple of projects that are instating communities of practice in my […]

Be genuine and genuinely care for your neighbour’s pace on the way to change


A lot of conversations, in general and also on this blog, are exploring past reflections and previous conversations. I am in one of these iterations about Alignment and authenticity. I’ve said before that -for me- authenticity is essential in what we do, when we engage with others, because that genuine approach shows the real us and […]

The (social) economics of gift and burying “knowledge is power” once and for all


“Giving a gift makes you indispensable. Inventing a gift, creating art-that is what the market seeks out, and the givers are the ones who earn our respect and attention.” (Seth Godin,). As I am continuing to listen to this excellent ‘Linchpin‘ book, at least one whole section of the book is worth exploring from an […]

The delicate balancing act of collective decision-making, between transparency and trust


Any group of people – and by extension any organisation, network or more complex form of such groups – needs to have a clear decision-making process – a ‘decision rule’ – in order to attain agreements that people genuinely subscribe to and that lead to effective implementation. Good learning and knowledge management depends on it just […]