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Fostering Online Networks

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Presentation about fostering online networks in a development context

Presentation about fostering online networks in a development context


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  • 1. Fostering online networks (for producer organisations)
  • 2. Why online networks?
    • World Bank survey amongst 137 respondents in 37 countries: 94% feels south-south learning is important for international development (60% extremely important)
  • 3. The basis of all networks: social networks
    • The basis of all networks is a social network. A social network is a structure made of nodes (which are generally individuals or organizations) that are tied by one or more specific types of interdependency, such as values, visions, ideas, financial exchange, friendship, kinship, dislike, conflict or trade. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_networks
    • Photo of UK flickr meet up http://www.flickr.com/photos/irashid007/2855672715/
  • 4. Network purposes
    • Networks are unique and differ in their purpose
    Learning & knowledge exchange Advocacy Research Service delivery Innovation
  • 5. Community of practice = network focussed on learning A community of practice is a network that focuses on practice. “Communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly..” Etienne Wenger (photos by myself and Dorine Ruter)
  • 6. Networks have live cycles
    • Successful networks and communities are reflexive and generative
    • (source Patti Anklam: Net Work)
  • 7. 7 Succes factors for learning networks
    • Build on existing networks
    • Focus on passions of members
    • Have a well-respected coordinator
    • Involve thought leaders
    • Develop active core group
    • Create rhythm of interaction
    • Develop public and private spaces
  • 8. How to foster healthy online communities?
    • Tara Hunt: “Fostering healthy online communities is complicated, time-consuming and requires dedication to your members”
  • 9. Myths about online communities or networks
    • Online communities are self organizing
    • Online communities are virtual (focus on the platform)
  • 10. Web2.0 tools: distributed conversations
    • Three new tasks for coordinators:
    • Online listening (use tools like socialmention, twitter search, RSS readers etc)
    • Bridging face-to-face and online boundaries
    • Developing online competencies
  • 11. Example 1: KM4dev
    • Started in 2000 for KM practitioners
    • Combination of f2f, mailing list, later wiki and ning, and group on LinkedIn, active twitterers, journal
    • Now >500 members on active mailing list 65% north, 35% south
  • 12. Example 2: IFRTD (international forum for rural transport and development)
    • Started in 1999, southern driven policy and practice network on transport issues
    • Decentralised secretariats and national networks in 20 countries, starting with small groups of enthousiasts
    • Newsletters, CD roms, list servs, website, workshops and meetings
    • Executive secretary as leadership force
  • 13. Example 3:CAIS community of practice
    • Attempt to connect CAIS centres using Dgroups
    • Difficulties due to internet access, personal interests and preference of face-to-face communications