Gather your insights

Gather your insights

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ ​ ​ ​
Do you want to gather insights, experiences or lessons learnt from your colleagues or from ​stakeholders?

The answers to our questions can often be found in the heads of the involved actors. It is an art to bring these answers to the surface and to make the actors aware of them. In the below listed tools you can find ideas about how processes can be organized so that these insights can be shared.

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​​​​​​​ Value Creation Stories

 

What?

Value creation stories show the success of network activities and new knowledge that has been generated by the network. They try to capture every step of the learning process with self-reflective feedback.

The picture above shows the types of value created along the path of social learning.

When
to use?

By following up every step of social learning you will discover what kind of development has grown out of an activity and by documenting each of those steps (e.g. on video) you will create nice stories to present your findings. This insight can then be used as an inspiration for new learning events. This technique is especially useful to improve your network's activities or to stimulate participation.

How?

 

weeks, months, years

 

at least two people

 

notebook, (camera)

Experiences, insights and feedback are collected at different times in the cycle of a network activity:

Immediate
Right after the meeting.

Indicators: level of satisfaction, level of engagement, number of participants, etc.

Potential
After the activity.

Indicators: number of insights reported on feedback forms, number of resources produced, number of new relationships generated.

Applied
Some time after the activity.

Indicators: number of new collaborations that start between network members, number of projects that implement a tool produced by the network, etc.

Realized
A few months after the activity.

Indicators: new projects implemented, new agreements with governments, better relationships with stakeholders, etc.

Why?

Value creation stories show "what works best" in activities and thus provide an instrument to steer networks accordingly. For the members, seeing measurable learning results can stimulate motivation for and dedication to the network and its activities. It can also help new members catching up with recent developments. Further, presentable results on an activity's outcomes can serve as prove of its success and justify further action.

​​​​​​​​ After Action Review

What?

An After Action Review (AAR) is a discussion of a project or an activity. It enables the individuals involved to learn for themselves what happened, why it happened, what went well, what needs improvement and what lessons can be learned from the experience. An AAR helps to discuss lessons learnt and to further improve future practice. The idea is to put findings and experiences back into your project or organization.

When
to use?

AARs can take place any time. Despite the name, they do not have to be performed at the end of a project. Rather, they can be conducted after each identifiable event or major activity in a project or even after an ordinary meeting.

How?

 

Possible from
5 mins - 1 day

 

From 2 persons to larger groups

 

Basic writing material, flipcharts

There are few limits for an AAR: Activities suitable for AARs simply need to have a beginning and an end, an identifiable purpose and some basis on which performance can be assessed.

Steps to follow:
  1. Invite the right people and appoint a facilitator
  2. Create an environment of openness and learning
  3. Ask the following questions:
    - What was supposed to happen?
    - What actually happened?
    - What went well?
    - What could have gone better?
  4. Ensure that everyone feels fully heard before leaving the meeting.
  5. Note or record and share important lessons learnt.

Why?

AARs are excellent for making tacit knowledge explicit during the life of a project or activity and thus allowing you to capture it. Learning can be captured before a team disbands, or before people forget what happened and move on to something else.

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​​​​​​​​ Appreciative Inquiry

What?

Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is used for organisational development and change management.  AI assumes that there are examples of success in our past that we can learn from to create greater success in the future. Specifically, AI seeks to determine the state that the system aspires to. The inquiry itself sets out to find examples of achievement of this desired state – even if this has occurred only rarely or briefly.

When
to use?

Are you challenged with a problem within your organisation? You are stuck in conventional problem solving processes? You want to to create a positive change, develop new and exciting images and plans for the future? You want to move away from silos?

Try Appreciative Inquiry and facilitate high participation planning while integrating multiple change efforts.

How?

 

Possible from
1h - 2-4 days

 

Team

 

Basics for writing and taking notes

An AI process can be undertaken over a longer period of time, as well as in a large group event in 2-4 days known as an AI summit. Relevant information is gathered when staff members of the organisation interview each other.

AI follows a 5D-Cycle

  1. Define: Analyse the purpose and the reason why you want to use this AI
  2. Discovery: Discover the times when the organisation is at its best. What is good and what has worked in the past?
  3. Dream: What might be? Envisioning of processes that would work well in the future based on the best moments identified in step 1
  4. Design: Steps to the dreamed situation. Planning and prioritizing processes, what needs to happen to support the vision?
  5. Destiny: Implementation of the design. Teams are formed to follow up on the defined elements.

Why?

AI is a way of seeing and being: not focusing on fixing problems, but on what already works well and should be strengthened. See the difference to conventional problem solving processes:

Problem Solving Appreciative inquiry
Felt need, identification of problem(s)Appreciating—valuing "the best of what is"
Analysis of CausesEnvisioning what might be
Analysis of possible solutionsEngaging in dialogue about what should be
Action Planning (treatment)Innovating what will be
Basic Assumption: An Organization is a Problem to be Solved Basic Assumption: An Organization is a Mystery to be Embraced

Table by Cooperrider, D. L., Srivastva, S. : A Positive Revolution in Change: Appreciative Inquiry

​​​​​​​​ Briefing and Debriefing

What?

Briefings are used to update consultants and other staff with newest contextual information; debriefings to inform decision makers about specific situations, findings of evaluations or studies and respective recommendations. The briefing note is a key for every form of briefing, be it oral or written, face to face or distant. A briefing note should be:

  • short: one or two pages, and always as short as possible;
  • concise: a short document isn't necessarily concise; use every word efficiently;
  • clear: keep it simple and to the point; always keep your reader firmly in mind;
  • reliable: the information in a briefing note must be accurate, sound and dependable;
  • readable: use plain language and design your briefing note for maximum readability.

 

When
to use?

Briefing, according to Wikipedia, is a short meeting among stakeholders of an activity immedi­ately before (briefing / in-briefing) or after the activity (debriefing).

How?

 

Depending on the content and purpose

 

Depending on the purpose also with larger groups possible

 

Briefing note, writing material

 

A briefing note includes the purpose, the summary of the facts, and the conclusion. Current sections of a briefing are:

  • Issue: A concise statement of the purpose, proposal or problem.
  • Background: The details the reader needs in order to understand what follows.
  • Current Status: Description of who is involved, what is happening now, etc.
  • Key Considerations: A summary of important facts and considerations.
  • Options: Including the pros and cons of each, or what will happen next.
  • Conclusion and/or Recommendations: Clear, direct and substantiated by the facts put forward.

Why?

Briefing notes are typically written for those senior-level decision-makers who:

  • have to keep track of many, often unrelated, issues;
  • may not be familiar with the issues and may not have any related background;
  • for whatever reason, cannot spend time doing their own research;
  • need a capsule version of the key points and considerations about an issue.

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​​​​​​​​ Collegial Coaching

What?

Collegial Coaching is a professional development method aiming at increasing collegiality and improving performance. It is a confidential process through which professionals share their expertise and provide one another with feedback, support, and assistance for the purpose of refining present skills, learning new skills, and / or solving task related problems. Hence, actions that might improve the use of the skills and knowledge are explored.

When
to use?

Collegial Coaching can be introduced as standard procedure for team meetings. Cases are regularly collected among the team members according to the interest, importance, urgency. It is good to keep in mind, that prospective cases (where immediate steps have to be taken) provoke more passion than retrospec­tive cases (lessons to be learnt).

How?

 

10-90 min, depending on the size of the group

 

Team, 2-6 people

 

Cases

 

Steps in a Collegial Coaching

  1. Define roles: (A) Requesting person and (B) coaches.
  2. A exposes the own situation and formulates the core question for the coaching.
  3. Coaches (B) ask questions of understanding; A provides answers.
  4. Coaches (B) discuss among themselves about A's case and about the way he presented it. They share own experience of similar situations and challenges. A just listens.
  5. A reacts on the discussion of the coaches. If needed, steps 2 to 4 are repeated (new core question).
  6. A declares next steps to do.

Why?

There are five functions of successful Collegial Coaching:

  • Companionship: Talk about success and failure with a new approach
  • Feedback: Give each other objective, non-evaluative feedback
  • Analysis: Help each other extend the control over a new approach
  • Adaptation: Work together to fit an approach to the special needs of an assignment
  • Support: Provide needed support

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​​​​​​​​ Experience Capitalization

What?

In an Experience Capitalization, key stakeholders transform individual and institutional experience and knowledge into capital that can be used in the future. Experience Capitalization is future oriented and aims at a change in collective institutional practice. Its focus may be on strategic orientation, basic concepts, or operational activities. Experience Capitalization is a learning process and paves the way for change – or is a partial step in a process of change already in progress.

The purpose of an Experience Capitalization is not to show accomplished actions, document success, or create an individual legacy as a project, program phase or career nears completion. Other methods are available for such processes, mainly experience documentation.

Experience Capitalizations can be directed at both the strategic orientations of organizations and activities and their conceptual basis, as well as at improving operations and processes. In both instances the initiative may stem from the geographical divisions or from the head office.

When
to use?

Experience Capitalization taps into past experiences in order to adapt future practices and is thus basically future-oriented. In other words, capitalizing on experience is a meaningful process when a need for change exists and when the opportunities to initiate change are actually given. In cases where estimates reveal only a small chance for change to even take place within a program or project, Experience Capitalization is superfluous. For example, the end of projects and programs is not a suitable moment to carry out Experience Capitalizations because there is no longer any leeway for changing an unsatisfactory procedure.

How?

 

Possible from
4h - several months

 

Depending on the scope of the experience

 

Depending on the applied method

 

There is no standard procedure for Experience Capitalization. Precise aims, clear questions and a deliberate openness to change are prerequisites for useful results that are easy to put into practice.

Experience Capitalizations can take the form of quick and simple reflections within a small group of people, or they may be more comprehensive, extending over a longer period of time (weeks or even months, if necessary).

Experience Capitalization cannot be delegated. External players will only be called in when those directly involved – the experience holders – ask them to participate. In such case, they are delegated a specific role, such as that of structuring processes.

An essential prerequisite for success is that participants share joint responsibility for formulating the objectives and questions. They should also agree on a mutually identified need to change a partially unsatisfactory practice. Ideally, there should even be a consensus on the difficulties diagnosed in the practice to be improved, or the type of problem to be solved.

Why?

Lessons learned and good practices are the output of experience capitalization. Their outcome refers to triggered changes. The application of experiences must be prepared and agreed upon by all participants. The investment of “knowledge” capital must be planned with a maximum of consensus and implemented as a project of change. The purpose of experience capitalization is only achieved when a practice has actually been modified.

​​​​​​​​ Experience Documentation

Five Finger Feedback

What?

Experience Documentation is directed at „learning in the future" and making information available to third parties. The objective is to create a retrievable memory. In addition, documentation serves accountability and archiving functions.

Experience is always shaped by the context in which it was made and by the people involved. Some aspects may be extracted as general lessons, whereas others need to be understood in the light of a particular situation. The challenge in documenting the experience for others to learn from is to reflect on the specifics of the context and to describe the key factors that influenced the process and outcomes.

When
to use?

SDC as a learning organization is interested to have experiences documented and made available for others to learn from in the future. The objective is to create a retrievable memory not only for archiving and accountability reasons, but also to support future change and decision making processes and to improve future performance in similar projects and programmes. 

How?

 

Depending on the scope of the experience

 

Alone or together with many stakeholders

 

Depending on the approach chosen

 


Experience Documentation can be an individual or a team process, lasting some hours or some months, varying heavily in the degree of interaction and the kind of product.

Why?

The trigger for Experience Documentation is primarily an institutional interest; individual motivations often play a subordinate role, although they are a driving factor for the quality of a product.

​​​​​​​​ Five-Finger Feedback

Five Finger Feedback

What?

The 5-Finger-Feedback is a method that helps people think about past presentations, meetings or workshops in a structured way. It also puts people at ease when giving feedback, because it gives participants starting points for their reflection and employs playful hand gestures.

When
to use?

The 5-Finger-Feedback is used at the end of a meeting when it is time for participants to give feedback. It works best in small to medium sized groups.

How?

 

10 mins - 30 mins, depending on group size

 

Small to medium sized groups

 

nothing special required

Explain what each finger symbolizes while demonstrating the hand gesture. The gesture simply involves holding up the according finger. Then let everyone in the group have a turn. They go through the motions while completing the given introductory words. points for their reflection and employs playful hand gestures.

Every finger stands for a different aspect of feedback and helps participants get to talking by providing introductory words:

  1. The thumb: praise – "Today I particularly liked…"
  2. The index finger: remarks – "What caught my attention was…"
  3. The middle finger: criticism – "I did not like…"
  4. The ring finger: connections – "This was applicable to my everyday life…"
  5. The pinkie finger: shortcomings – "I would have liked more of…"

Why?

This method makes for multi-dimensional feedback, because it provides good starting points. It is also easy to use and easy to remember. The thumbs up are culturally associated with praise, the index finger with pointing something out, the middle finger has negative connotations, the ring finger is associated with connection (marriage), and the pinkie finger is short for shortcomings.

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to know
more?


There are many blog articles about the succesful use of this method. For instance: Five Finger Feedback by Dr. Mirjam Sophia Gleßmer, Hamburg University of Technology. 

​​​​​​​​ Good Practice

What?

The sharing of good practices is one of the first things carried out in a knowledge management initiative. This often begins with common practices such as instruction manuals or 'how to'-guidelines. The next step from there is to identify and share good practices.

Most good practice programs combine two key elements: explicit knowledge such as a good practices database (connecting people with information), and methods for sharing tacit knowledge such as communities of practice (connecting people with people).

When
to use?

The best way of sharing good practices is 'on the job'. Being part of communities and having personal contacts with others who have used the good practice is therefore a key to success.

How?

  1. Identify users' requirements.
  2. Identify good practices worth being shared.
  3. Document good practices (title and short abstract, profile of the good practice, context, description of processes and steps, lessons learned, and links to resources and key people).
  4. Validate good practices with convincing results in a new context.
  5. Disseminate and apply good practices.
  6. Develop a supporting infrastructure.

Why?

The essence of identifying and sharing good practices is to learn from others and to re-use knowledge. The biggest benefit consists in well developed processes based on accumulated experience.

Want
to know
more?

Comprehensive Text about Good Practice

See also the website of David Skyrme about best practices in best practices.

​​​​​​​​ Knowledge Fair

What?

A Knowledge Fair is an event designed to showcase information about an organization or a topic. It includes methods such as speakers, demonstrations, booths displaying information, exhibition boards, workshops, videos, informal corners, open space, etc.

When
to use?

A Knowledge Fair is particularly recommended when there is a lot of information to share with a lot of people and participants need a broader perspective, as well as an opportunity to interact on a one-to-one basis on specific topics. The Knowledge Fair is an alternative to formal presentations when more interactive experiences are desirable. A Knowledge Fair is also pertinent if the organization is to adopt and sustain horizontal modes of operating and co-operating. Such a method can then foster a new organizational dynamic.

How?

 

1 day and more

 

Lager groups
min. 12 peoples

 

Rooms, booths, presentation infrastructure, guide, registration etc.

 

  • Get top level support and publicize the Fair widely.
  • Put the Fair where there is a lot of foot traffic, e.g. in the atrium of the organization. Don't accept a decision to put the Fair in an out-of-the way space.
  • Get common displays for booths so as to convey an image of diversity with integration.
  • Be realistic about how much time it takes for presenters to prepare and display.
  • Don't plan in too much detail for the actual booths - presenters can self-organize within a common framework.
  • Don't be too serious - a Fair can be fun! 

Why?

A large amount of information can be made available and attendees can focus specifically on what they are interested in learning. Attendees can interact directly with the presenters, getting immediate answers to their specific questions. They also can establish contacts for further exploration of topics if needed.

Attendees of Knowledge Fairs often network with one another and booth developers often strengthen their teamwork. Knowledge Fairs also provide opportunities to draw attention to best practices and recognize employee and team achievements.

Want
to know
more?

Comprehensive Text about Knowledge Fair

Guide to the SDC Dare to Share-Fair

Knowledge Fair: Manual of UNDP

​​​​​​​​ Knowledge Map

What?

When transferring dossiers to a successor, a Knowledge Map provides a quick overview of the most important areas of explicit and implicit knowledge. It also can draw  the most important network relationships, with individuals, but also between different tasks, different organizational units and with external organizations. The visualization of the different tasks and working areas includes also the indication of the documented information and where to find it. Focus is on the implicit knowledge, on stories, on experiences, on knowledge that usually is not written down in handing-over documents.

When
to use?

The knowledge map can be established at the start of a transfer process (to give a first overview to the successor) or at the end of the transfer process (with a stronger focus on exploring the links between the different working areas). It can be done just before starting the work in the new function or several weeks before.

How?

 

Between 3-6 h

 

Best with predecessor, successor and facilitator

 

Paper, markers, flipchart

 

The aim of drawing a knowledge map is to obtain an overview of the work areas of the person handing over. A knowledge map is best prepared by an experienced moderator in conjunction with the person handing over and the recipient. The proven steps are as follows:

  1. The core area of the map shows the work areas (sub-dossiers) handled by the person handing over
  2. For each sub-dossier, enter the most important internal organisational units, external organisations and contact persons.
  3. Sketch and designate the most important processes between the work area of the person handing over and the other organisations/organisational units.
  4. Identify systems of sub-dossiers, partner organisations and processes using colour coding or frames.
  5. Set priorities throughout the system (which knowledge areas are important/which are less important?).

Half a day usually is enough time to obtain an overview and set priorities as starting point or as conclusion of the dossier transfer.

The Knowledge Map is best done with both, the predecessor and the successor, in direct contact. It is also possible to draw the map together with the predecessor and to hand over at a later point of time the map to the successor.

Why?

The Knowledge Map is an appropriate basis on which to gain an overview of the knowledge to be transferred and to set knowledge transfer priorities. It makes it easier to get a picture of the tasks and to put the different dossiers in relation to each other. Even after the transfer of the individual dossiers the knowledge map is a good tool to connect the different dossiers with each other. 

Want
to know
more?

Comprehensive Text about Knowledge Map

For further information watch the introductory video on the website of akri

​​​​​​​​ Lessons Learnt

What?

The formulation of lessons is the collection, validation, consolidation and finally documentation of experiences, developments, hints, mistakes and risks found during a project. Lessons learnt are drawn first and foremost at an individual level. In a team these (often diametrically different) individual lessons can be consolidated into Lessons Learnt of the team. Likewise Lessons Learnt of various teams can be consolidated and made useful for the whole organization.

When
to use?

Drawing Lessons Learnt makes sense at the end of any project, activity and work phase. Doing so not only gives credit to the efforts made, it also leads to a valuable selection of information that can be useful in the planning and preparation of new endeavours. Capturing Lessons Learnt can also be integrated into the whole project cycle as an iterative process.

How?

  1. Clarify a) for what area Lessons Learnt are to be drawn, b) who (else) could have an interest in these lessons.
  2. Delineate the system boundaries (project, area of activity, action-learning).
  3. Then formulate guiding questions corresponding to the above.
  4. Collect (individual) answers to these questions and any other spontaneous idea.
  5. Consolidate individual lessons into shared lessons (team, organization).
  6. Describe the Lessons Learnt (and the surrounding setting) in an attractive and well-structured way
  7. Make Lessons Learnt accessible to all interested persons.

Why?

The analysis of a series of Lessons Learnt in a sequence of projects can yield ideas for improving the project management in an organization in general.

​​​​​​​​ Peer Assist / Peer Review

What?

Peer Assist means to reuse existing knowledge and experience. A host team presents a project to a visiting team. The role of the visitors is to share knowledge and experience in order to help resolve the presented challenge. 

When
to use?

Peer Assist is a tool in a planning stage and means gathering knowledge before launching a project. It is also useful when facing a specific problem or challenge during a project. For the evaluation stage a Peer Review is more appropriate.

How?

 

1/2 day - 2 days
Timing is important

 

6-8 people

 

nothing special required

 

  • Define the purpose of a PA, find the participants for a visiting team and assign a facilitator. For the visiting team look across the organisation rather than up
  • Give enough space for socializing and getting to know each other;
  • The meeting is divided into four steps:
                  1. the host team briefly presents the project, problem or challenge
                  2. the visiting team members discuss what they have heard, what has surprised them, what did they expect to hear. Don't try to solve the problem but to offer some options and insights based on your own experience
                  3. The visiting team identifies options to solve the problem. The host team listens carefully and the facilitator records these options.
                  4. The visiting team presents its final feedback. The host team is prepared to hear something it did not expect.
  • The host team commits to follow-up actions and keeps the visiting team updated
  • Together, they identify lessons learnt and further interested persons to share with.

Why?

Peer Assist promotes sharing of learning between teams, and develops strong networks among people. Learning within PA is directly focused on a specific task or problem, and so it can be applied immediately.

Peer Assists are relatively simple and inexpensive to do: they do not require any special resources or any new, unfamiliar processes.

Want
to know
more?

Comprehensive Text about Peer Assist / Peer Review

Find further information on the website of NASA. See also the contribution of KM4Dev ​to the Rotating Peer Assist.

Further information about Peer Review you can find here​.

​​​​​​​​ Storytelling

What?

Storytelling has existed for thousands of years as a means of exchanging information and generating understanding. However, as a deliberate tool for sharing knowledge within organizations it is quite recent but growing very rapidly, to the extent that it is becoming a favored technique among an increasing number of management consultants.

When
to use?

Storytelling is used in organizations as a communication tool to share knowledge with inspiration. The language used is authentic (experience, not fact oriented); it is the narrative form that most people find interesting and attractive.

How?

 

min. 30 min.

 

Individual or in groups

 

Basic writing materials, storytelling guide

  How to go about it (as a storyteller)?

  1. Be clear about the key message you want to convey with a story.
  2. Build your story on an own experience. Note key-words, from the beginning to the dramatic evolution, the turning point and the happy (sad) end. What is the lesson learned?
  3. Tell your story starting from the beginning. Build an atmosphere of curiosity. Tell the surprising moment of your story with a dramatic voice. Observe your listeners.
  4. If indicated, relate your story to the topic discussed.

                    
How to go about it (as a listener / interviewer)?

  1. Contribute to a good climate in the group. Show your interest. Give the storyteller an adequate reason to tell.
  2. Be a great audience. Listen closely, be receptive and fully comprehending.
  3. Don't resist the story. Hear it out and then come back with additional questions.
  4. Observe an implicit contract of trust. Only break when you feel the teller is not telling the truth.

Why?

Simple stories can illuminate complex patterns and deeper truths – one should never underes­timate the power of the particular. The process of telling your story – and seeing it touch other people – can be empowering. Being touched by the stories of others makes a difference to bonds of trust, as well as insights.

Want
to know
more?

Multimedia Storytelling Inside SDC - A Practical Guide:




Scroll through the Multimedia in SDC pageflow to get inspired
 



Comprehensive Text about Storytelling

Further information you can also find on the website of IDS and here.

 

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