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.
Value Creation Stories
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.
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.
weeks, months, years
at least two people
Experiences, insights and feedback are collected at different times in the cycle of a network activity:ImmediateRight after the meeting.
Indicators: level of satisfaction, level of engagement, number of participants, etc.PotentialAfter the activity.
Indicators: number of insights reported on feedback forms, number of resources produced, number of new relationships generated.AppliedSome 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.RealizedA few months after the activity.
Indicators: new projects implemented, new agreements with governments, better relationships with stakeholders, etc.
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.
Official website of the developers: Wenger-Trayner
Value creation story questionnaire
After Action Review
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.
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.
Possible from5 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.
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.
Comprehensive Text about After Action Review
Further information you can find on the websites of
Wildland Fire Leadership,
Donald Clark and
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.
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.
Possible from1h - 2-4 days
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
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:
Table by Cooperrider, D. L., Srivastva, S. :
A Positive Revolution in Change: Appreciative Inquiry
Comprehensive Text about Appreciative Inquiry
See also the
article of Cooperrider and Srivasta: A Positive Revolution in Change: Appreciative Inquiry and go to
The Appreciative Inquiry Commons. Here you can download an
introduction to Appreciative Inquiry by Charles Elliott.
Briefing and Debriefing
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:
Briefing, according to Wikipedia, is a short meeting among stakeholders of an activity immediately before (briefing / in-briefing) or after the activity (debriefing).
Depending on the content and purpose
Depending on the purpose also with larger groups possible
Briefing note, writing material
A briefing note includes the
summary of the facts, and the
conclusion. Current sections of a briefing are:
Briefing notes are typically written for those senior-level decision-makers who:
Comprehensive Text about Briefing and Debriefing
Have also a glimpse at the website
writing for government.
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.
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).
10-90 min, depending on the size of the group
Team, 2-6 people
Steps in a Collegial Coaching
There are five functions of successful Collegial Coaching:
Comprehensive Text about Collegial Coaching
Find further ressources on the
Collegial Coaching Hub.
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.
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.
Possible from4h - 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.
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.
Comprehensive Text about Experience Capitalization
See also the
SDC Guide to Thematic Experience Capitalization
More information you can find in the
Handbook on Capitalisation of Experiences of the UNDP Africa Adaptation Programme.
Free FAO eLearning course on Experience Capitalization for Continuous Learning
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.
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.
Alone or together with many stakeholders
Depending on the approach chosen
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.
Comprehensive Text about Experience Documentation
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Comprehensive Text about Good Practice
See also the website of
David Skyrme about best practices in best practices.
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.
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.
1 day and more
Lager groupsmin. 12 peoples
Rooms, booths, presentation infrastructure, guide, registration etc.
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.
Comprehensive Text about Knowledge Fair
Guide to the SDC Dare to Share-Fair
Manual of UNDP
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
Comprehensive Text about Knowledge Map
For further information watch the introductory video on the
website of akri.
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.
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.
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.
Comprehensive Text about Lessons Learnt
Peer Assist / Peer Review
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.
1/2 day - 2 daysTiming is important
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.
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
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.
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.
min. 30 min.
Individual or in groups
Basic writing materials, storytelling guide
How to go about it (as a storyteller)?
How to go about it (as a listener / interviewer)?
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.
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