5 Characteristics Of Successful Intermediary Organisations

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Presentation by Catherine Fisher (IDS) on 5 characteristics of successful intermediary organsiations, given at the 3rd I-K-Mediary workshop in Brighton, November 2009.

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5 Characteristics Of Successful Intermediary Organisations

  1. 1. 5 characteristics of successful knowledge and information intermediary organisations Presented at 3 rd Workshop of I-K-Mediary Network Catherine Fisher, Institute of Development Studies
  2. 2. 5 characteristics <ul><li>A clear purpose and a service to match </li></ul><ul><li>An implementation model that enables you to deliver </li></ul><ul><li>A favourable institutional environment and enabled individuals </li></ul><ul><li>Reputation and relationships </li></ul><ul><li>Ability to evolve, innovate, adapt and spot opportunities </li></ul>
  3. 3. But first a word on capacity <ul><li>Everyone has capacity and it can increase and decrease </li></ul><ul><li>Capacity exists at different levels that impact on each other </li></ul><ul><li>- individual, organisation, sector, society </li></ul><ul><li>Different kinds of capability make up capacity </li></ul>
  4. 4. Elements of Capacity
  5. 5. 1. A shared purpose and a service to match <ul><li>Work out what problem your service is addressing and base all decision around that </li></ul><ul><li>Its ok to innovate and take risks recognise you are doing so </li></ul><ul><li>Always keep the bigger picture in mind to enable day to day autonomy and strategic innovation </li></ul>
  6. 6. 1. A shared purpose and a service to match - how to uphold <ul><li>Do initial research consumerate with the level of investment in set up </li></ul><ul><li>Have feedback loops (M&E) and ability to change in response </li></ul><ul><li>Create culture of debate and discussion in the implementation team and build in time for reflection </li></ul>
  7. 7. 2. An implementation model that enables you to deliver <ul><li>Based on the resources you have – human, financial, technical and organisational </li></ul><ul><li>Based on realistic assumptions about how people will interact with your service </li></ul><ul><li>Realistic long-term financial model </li></ul>
  8. 8. 2. An implementation model that enables you to deliver - how to uphold <ul><li>Combine new and existing staff resources </li></ul><ul><li>Work to challenge ideas that technology will solve everything (typically information projects over invest in infrastructure and under-invest in people) </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t expect your service to generate revenue but some do by charging for certain services that subsidise others </li></ul>
  9. 9. 3. A favourable institutional environment and enabled individuals <ul><li>Right kind of support from senior management – strategic not interfering </li></ul><ul><li>Located within the right part of the organisation – not seen as service for the org </li></ul><ul><li>Competency based team given autonomy and invested in </li></ul>
  10. 10. 3. A favourable institutional environment and enabled individuals – how to uphold <ul><li>Make the case for what you do to senior management, positive communications </li></ul><ul><li>Recognise requirements for knowledge work may be different from other kinds of jobs, how far can you bend the rules? </li></ul><ul><li>Look at job descriptions from other organisations if competency based recruitment not typical </li></ul><ul><li>Include staff development in proposal budgets where possible </li></ul>
  11. 11. 4. Reputation and relationships <ul><li>You need trust and credibility with users and contributors – possibly through brand rather than direct relationships </li></ul><ul><li>Relationships to enlist support and protect space to operate – government, donors, senior management in your organisation </li></ul>
  12. 12. 4. Reputation and relationships – how to uphold <ul><li>Clear values and brand </li></ul><ul><li>Invest in ongoing relationship management with the people that matter </li></ul><ul><li>Make the case for what you do (examples of impact can help as can relationships with peers) </li></ul>
  13. 13. 5. Ability to evolve, innovate and spot opportunities <ul><li>Applies to both purpose of your service and its design and delivery </li></ul><ul><li>Recognise and respond to changing context for your stakeholders (eg changing technology, other services) </li></ul><ul><li>Recognise changing priorities for donors (eg rising topics, aid/financing modalities) </li></ul>
  14. 14. 5. Ability to evolve, innovate and spot opportunities – how to uphold <ul><li>Advisory board </li></ul><ul><li>Monitoring and evaluation and ability to listen to feedback </li></ul><ul><li>Professional development of staff </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Outcomes based’ rather than ‘activity based’ relationship with donors (relates to measuring impact) </li></ul>
  15. 15. 3. Reputation and relationships – how to uphold <ul><li>Clear values and brand </li></ul><ul><li>Invest in ongoing relationship management with the people that matter </li></ul><ul><li>Make the case for what you do (examples of impact can help as can relationships with peers) </li></ul>
  16. 16. 2. Established intermediaries have been joined by new kinds of hybrid intermediary actors <ul><li>Libraries, extension and media still important </li></ul><ul><li>Everyone is an intermediary now! </li></ul><ul><li>But emergence of new, deliberate programmes that don’t fit into old categories </li></ul>
  17. 17. <ul><li>“ my understanding of intermediary roles has been blown up! There are horizontal roles, vertical roles, one-way, two-way, multi-way, 360 degrees” </li></ul>
  18. 18. 3. A range of intermediary roles – engaged and behind the scenes <ul><li>Just in case and just in time </li></ul><ul><li>Both roles needed to make a difference </li></ul>
  19. 19. 4. The origins of intermediary actors matter and shape how the role is played <ul><li>Librarians, extension workers, researchers interpret and play the role differently </li></ul><ul><li>Cross fertilisation of ideas is powerful! </li></ul>
  20. 20. 5. No universal acceptance that knowledge and information intermediaries are required <ul><li>Some thought direct connections were more important , no need for brokers </li></ul><ul><li>Others question value of multiple perspectives </li></ul><ul><li>Just a new bunch of jobs? </li></ul>
  21. 21. Intermediaries ‘contribution
  22. 22. 1. Making information edible <ul><li>Summarising, synthesising or translating </li></ul><ul><li>Switching communication channels </li></ul><ul><li>Responding to info needs </li></ul>
  23. 23. 2. Enabling access <ul><li>Digitising information </li></ul><ul><li>Preserving information </li></ul><ul><li>Organising information </li></ul>
  24. 24. 3. Creating demand for information <ul><li>Promoting value of research </li></ul><ul><li>Information literacy/capabilities </li></ul>
  25. 25. 4. Supporting marginalised voices to be heard <ul><li>Showcasing less prominent voices </li></ul><ul><li>Searching out less obvious material </li></ul><ul><li>Using leverage to create spaces for engagement </li></ul>
  26. 26. 5. Supporting marginalised voices to be heard <ul><li>Showcasing less prominent voices </li></ul><ul><li>Searching out less obvious material </li></ul><ul><li>Using leverage to create spaces for engagement </li></ul>
  27. 27. 6. Creating alternative framings <ul><li>Bringing together non-mainstream material /voices </li></ul><ul><li>Highlighting different ways of seeing an issue </li></ul>
  28. 28. Intermediaries ‘contribution
  29. 29. Discussion questions <ul><li>What examples do you know of this different kind of contribution? </li></ul><ul><li>In which areas is your service active and how? </li></ul><ul><li>Are there types of contribution missing? </li></ul>
  30. 30. Recommendations for intermediaries <ul><li>Go beyond being a repository </li></ul><ul><li>Engage with political nature of the role </li></ul><ul><li>Collaborate for info flows </li></ul><ul><li>Develop standards and professionalise the role </li></ul>
  31. 31. <ul><li>Remember… </li></ul><ul><li>“… the champion for the issues and ideas emerging from the conference will be the I-K-Mediary Network…” </li></ul><ul><li>Lets discuss! </li></ul>

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