Effective communication of research for development: Experiences from NBDC and other horizons
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Effective communication of research for development: Experiences from NBDC and other horizons

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Presented by Ewen Le Borgne at a Volta Basin Development Challenge communication workshop, Burkina Faso, 27 March 2012

Presented by Ewen Le Borgne at a Volta Basin Development Challenge communication workshop, Burkina Faso, 27 March 2012

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  • 1. Effective communication of research for development Ewen Le Borgne “Experiences from NBDC and other horizons” Communication for research workshop, Ouagadougou, 27-28 March 2012
  • 2. Presentation outline1. Typical functions (and areas) of communication2. Powering ‘R4D’ & comms with ‘KM’3. One example: NBDC4. Implications: lessons, challenges and opportunities5. …So what now?6. References
  • 3. 1. Typical areas of communication
  • 4. 1. Typical functions of communication Conversing Connecting Converging Converting What do you think? Correcting Collecting
  • 5. Where are we at?1. Typical functions (and areas) of communication2. Powering ‘R4D’ & comms with ‘KM’3. One example: NBDC4. Implications: lessons, challenges and opportunities5. …So what now?
  • 6. 2. Powering R4D & ‘comms’ with ‘KM’ Three powerful aspects  Strong knowledge sharing… to get a bigger picture and a wider network and more impact  Strong information management… to feed our discussions, track and re-use crucial information to remember the past to inform the future  Strong critical thinking and sense-making… to make sense of it all and adapt constantly
  • 7. 2. Powering R4D & ‘comms’ with ‘KM’ Strong knowledge sharing  Strong meetings that get your job done  Internally, around organisations, for multi-stakeholder processes
  • 8. 2. Powering R4D & ‘comms’ with ‘KM’ Strong information management  Storing / archiving / databasing…  …Strong codification mechanisms: consistent file naming, spelling etc.
  • 9. 2. Powering R4D & ‘comms’ with ‘KM’ Strong critical thinking and sense-making  Learning individually…  …Learning as a team, an organization, project etc.  …For stronger questions, ideas, synthesis, ownership, content, engagement, survival and embedding
  • 10. Where are we at?1. Typical functions (and areas) of communication2. Powering ‘R4D’ & comms with ‘KM’3. One example: NBDC4. Implications: lessons, challenges and opportunities5. …So what now?
  • 11. NBDC…3.Some of the ways we share, learn, communicate
  • 12. Meetings
  • 13. Meetings
  • 14. Presentations
  • 15. Presentations
  • 16. Field visits
  • 17. Training
  • 18. Documenting
  • 19. Documenting
  • 20. Documenting
  • 21. Documenting
  • 22. Documenting
  • 23. Disseminating
  • 24. Disseminating
  • 25. Disseminating
  • 26. Disseminating
  • 27. Disseminating
  • 28. Disseminating
  • 29. Disseminating
  • 30. Disseminating
  • 31. Collaborating
  • 32. Collaborating
  • 33. Sharing
  • 34. Sharing
  • 35. The NBDC approach – the set up  Comms is housed by N5  And provided by ILRI  Explicit objective: make the Challenge more effective4. Examples from NBDC  Coordination through:  Cross-disciplinary effort / sharing  Linking across projects and partners  Supporting national platform engagement  Supporting N-projects to reach their OLM  E.g. N4: “using project management tools and implementing projects in timely manner and interact[ing] more effectively for higher Nile BDC outcomes and goals.”  N5: “one single project team, delivering promised and emerging outputs as required and using technical, institutional and advocacy strategies to bring about change in the way research, development and policy actors work in the basin”
  • 36. The 10 commandments of NBDC comms 1. Knowledge generated by the Project will be open and public 2. We value the knowledge of our clients and partners 3. Multi‐purpose knowledge4. Examples from NBDC 4. Knowledge management: Collect, connect, converse 5. Face‐to‐face communication 6. Advocacy is everyone’s responsibility 7. Communication inextricably linked to outcomes 8. Internal communication and M&E are part of our communication strategy 9. Partnerships are the key to impact 10. Innovation and ICTs
  • 37. The NBDC approach – new horizons  No formal communication strategy… yet  Strong focus on internal communication  Progressive shift towards external communication (to ‘deliver science’) – F2F / publishing4. Examples from NBDC  Increasing opportunities…  Policy engagement  Community engagement  Caveats  One country, one language  One institute hosting all parties  But linking all partners and fighting ‘comms laziness’
  • 38. Where are we at?1. Typical functions (and areas) of communication2. Powering ‘R4D’ & comms with ‘KM’3. One example: NBDC4. Implications: lessons, challenges and opportunities5. …So what now?
  • 39. 4. Implications: lessons, challenges and Perhaps we got it wrong…  It’s not just about unilateral messages reaching the right audience…opportunities  It’s about multi-directional engagement with various partners
  • 40. 4. Implications: lessons, challenges and Perhaps we got it wrong…  It’s not just about communicators doing all the ‘communication work’opportunities  It’s everybody’s business!
  • 41. 4. Implications: lessons, challenges and So let’s get it right!  Communicating for research for development goes through various phasesopportunities
  • 42. 4. Implications: lessons, challenges and So let’s get it right!  It’s about sustained interest and efforts, of different kinds…opportunities
  • 43. 4. Implications: lessons, challenges and So let’s get it right!  It’s about various channels and platformsopportunities  And targeting the right ones for our key audiences
  • 44. 4. Implications: lessons, challenges and So let’s get it right!  It’s sometimes about organizing a solid engagement process…opportunities  …to build trust and ownership
  • 45. 4. Implications: lessons, challenges and So let’s get it right!  It’s increasingly about internal and external networks…opportunities  …and less and less about navel-gazing organizations
  • 46. 4. Implications: lessons, challenges and So let’s get it right!  It’s about communicating the WHY and the HOW also…opportunities  …Not just the WHAT
  • 47. 4. Implications: lessons, challenges and So let’s get it right!  It’s about informal learning…opportunities  …Not just formal sharing and management
  • 48. 4. Implications: lessons, challenges andopportunities What if the engagement is not so solid?  Build a trust network consciously around events  And get your hands dirty between events
  • 49. 4. Implications: lessons, challenges andopportunities English – français… problems?  Develop simple guidelines…  Summaries in the other language (also for the website?)
  • 50. 4. Implications: lessons, challenges andopportunities Keeping the knowledge tap open?  Identify good content and share it  Coordinate content feeds…  Keep conversing / enrich the content
  • 51. 4. Implications: lessons, challenges andopportunities Behaviour changes???  They take time anyway  Learn and monitor… expand on good practices  Aiming at everyone learning and sharing…
  • 52. 4. Implications: lessons, challenges andopportunities Not finding time and guidance for comms?  Prioritise crucial content  Re-use content smartly (comms / M&E / coordination)  Comms is and should be part of our standards!
  • 53. 4. Implications: lessons, challenges andopportunities Pressure to deliver ‘science’?  Discuss this more widely in CPWF  Process information more likely to be scaled up?
  • 54. 4. Implications: lessons, challenges andopportunities Communicating science to a wider group?  Find a common language  Regularly engage with the wider public (if that is a need), understand ‘lay’ perspective, simplify your language
  • 55. 4. Implications: lessons, challenges andopportunities Monitoring communication & knowledge?  In line with outcome logic model (OLM)  Focus on uptake and use of outputs – how do we know our outputs are useful?  Review your theory of change for intermediate outcomes
  • 56. Where are we at?1. Typical functions (and areas) of communication2. Powering ‘R4D’ & comms with ‘KM’3. One example: NBDC4. Implications: lessons, challenges and opportunities5. …So what now?
  • 57. So what now? How does this workshop tie in with all of this? What can you hope out of it?6. …So what now? What will you do to make it work? What do you expect from others?
  • 58. Links and references (1)1. NBDC wiki2. NBDC comms tools3. CPWF communication presentation (May 2011)4. CPWF Yammer network5. CPWF ‘comms 4 uptake’ Yammer network
  • 59. Links and references (2)1. Devising and sustaining agri-water research communica2. Distributed research needs collaborative researchers3. Getting In On the Act: How Arts Groups are Creating Op4. Double loop learning in leadership development