Sharing knowledge in development organizations: making Communities of Practice work

  • 01st July 2016
  • by secretary
16 June 2016. Brussels. The brainstorming lab “Sharing knowledge in development organizations: making Communities of Practice work” took place during the European Development Days.

48 participants from multilateral and bilateral organisations, NGOs, Foundations, Think-Tanks and the private sector came together to come up with concrete ideas, innovative solutions and good practices on the shared challenges faced regarding establishing Communities of Practice (CoP).

Ms. Androulla Kaminara, Head of the KM Task Force at DEVCO, welcomed participants and provided a short contextual introduction in which she raised the following points:

  • There are many knowledge sharing challenges in development organisations, such as geographical dispersion, knowledge “silos”, lack of knowledge sharing culture and a weak link to the overall organisational strategy 
  • Communities of Practice (CoP) can be an effective mechanism to address challenges.
  • But there are a lot of challenges associated with setting up CoP in development organisations, such as high workload and low prioritization for knowledge sharing, few incentives to share, 
  • Communication apprehension” (i.e. difficulty to ask questions and share in public) and ensuring usefulness of the CoP
  • DEVCO as part of its LKDS strategy is also trying to support CoP on its platform Capacity4dev
 Following the background introduction, participants discussed the following questions in a World Café format:

  • How can you ensure a CoP best responds to practitioners’ needs in their daily work? (hosted by Ivan Kulis, ECDPM)
  • How do we engage practitioners, including those from the field, in active participation and exchanges of substance? (hosted by Teresa Kerber, GIZ)
  • How can we know that our CoP is on the right track and monitor success? (hosted by Pauline Van Norel, MDF)
  • What tools can we best use to enable knowledge sharing in CoPs? (hosted by Chris Korakas, DEVCO Unit 06)

You will find the session’s report back videos here and, on the EDD website, you can find here photos of the session