Dgroups @ picnic comm2012


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Presentation at PICNIC 2011 during COMM2012 event

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Dgroups @ picnic comm2012

  1. 1. <ul><li>DGroups </li></ul><ul><li>Development through Dialogue </li></ul><ul><li>@ PICNIC 2011 </li></ul>Saskia Harmsen, IICD
  2. 2. IICD <ul><li>specialises in information and communication technology (ICT) as a tool for development </li></ul><ul><li>facilitates technical and social innovations that create and enhance development opportunities in education, governance, livelihoods, health and the environment </li></ul>
  3. 3. Purpose Reality Check <ul><li>Not talking about watching YouTube videos for personal entertainment </li></ul><ul><li>Not talking about FB: </li></ul><ul><li>600 million users, </li></ul><ul><li>mainly for private use. </li></ul><ul><li>Value for professional </li></ul><ul><li>exchange very limited. </li></ul><ul><li>Negotiate contracts </li></ul><ul><li>or agree to terms </li></ul><ul><li>of collaboration via each </li></ul><ul><li>other’s walls? </li></ul>
  4. 4. Dialogue Social (or collective) learning, fundamental to how development practices are improved, takes place in informal and formal networks.
  5. 5. Professionals in places like these..
  6. 6. And offices like these… To get their jobs done!
  7. 7. Some perspective: It has to work in the face of… <ul><li>… Power cuts, so synchronous communications like Skype or real time websites are out </li></ul><ul><li>… Slow bandwidth and expensive mobile internet connections, so fancy websites are out </li></ul><ul><li>… Not many smart phones around, so mobile apps are out </li></ul><ul><li>So, if all that modern stuff is out, what’s in? </li></ul><ul><li>Store-and-forward </li></ul>
  8. 8. But meaningful 2-way conversation? <ul><li>‘ Be there in 10!’ </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Was gud to meet, link up later’ </li></ul><ul><li>‘ 1 kg Groundnuts, Tamale, 1.45 Gh cedis’ </li></ul>Omnipresence of mobiles Widespread use of SMS
  9. 9. We want to… <ul><li>Facilitate meaningful discourse on a large-scale </li></ul><ul><li>Enable people to better their capabilities and lives through collaboratively learning and building on each other’s knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Remember: </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Scale’ for us is not numbers of accounts, numbers of ‘Likes’ or +1’s, but enabling thousands and thousands of relevant conversations between a few or a few hundred people </li></ul><ul><li>So….. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Where there’s internet…
  11. 11. … ..
  12. 12. … there’s email!
  13. 13. Majority of professionals communicate by email, still the lowest common denominator technology Email still key instrument to reach majority of people, and the inbox is the main place for daily work communities of ideas communities of practice formal knowledge networks virtual teams thematic groups working groups
  14. 14. What then is ‘Dgroups’? <ul><li>web-based technical platform: creation and use of discrete e-mail based discussion lists and web workspaces that are used to support knowledge networking by people and institutions working in development; </li></ul><ul><li>plural name for these online networks , individually known as a dgroup; and </li></ul><ul><li>a partnership of development organizations who share a commitment to collaboration in development and who are developing a common vision of the need for such a platform and such online groups. </li></ul>
  15. 15. an environment which is <ul><li>simple, </li></ul><ul><li>non-commercial, </li></ul><ul><li>respectful of privacy, </li></ul><ul><li>and </li></ul><ul><li>targeted at low bandwidth users in the South. </li></ul>
  16. 17. 2002 founders: IICD, OneWorld, UNAIDS and Bellanet <ul><li>Why? </li></ul><ul><li>Our private need for groups to support our own work and, at the same time, </li></ul><ul><li>A commitment to a global public good by supporting a platform that is used by many actors across the development sector. </li></ul><ul><li>Coordinated efforts by development agencies to create spaces for dialogue, accessible by any user </li></ul>A large 'family' of discussion groups related to international development - this is the strength and opportunity of Dgroups. <ul><li>thousands of us can focus our time and energy on the work </li></ul><ul><li>we need to do: international development communications. </li></ul>
  17. 18. 2011 partners + just joined: Rural Water Supply Network (RWSN)
  18. 19. tremendous potential <ul><li>in having all online development groups on one platform, </li></ul><ul><li>in terms of linking initiatives and sharing information and knowledge resources. </li></ul><ul><li>Shared ownership: </li></ul><ul><li>organisations invest small chunks of money than it would normally take to build and sustain a full system </li></ul><ul><li>larger number of owners further leverages everyone’s funds and increases the reach – inclusion: smaller organisations can own and use appropriate system that would normally require investment in human resources and technology; </li></ul><ul><li>Appropriate technology: </li></ul><ul><li>focus was never on building fancy technology, but on what works and what is sustainable  lower costs </li></ul>
  19. 20. Some data <ul><li>2128 active communities </li></ul><ul><ul><li>93 new communities in previous 5 months, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>average of 5.4 new communities/week) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>151.287 members (March 2010: 139.336) </li></ul><ul><li>National, international & intergovernmental organizations </li></ul><ul><li>Government agencies </li></ul><ul><li>National and international NGOs </li></ul><ul><li>ICT- and knowledge focused institutes </li></ul>
  20. 21. What does it do? <ul><li>Links a large network of people, who share interests, and are also looking for an answer to their questions </li></ul><ul><li>Strengthen specific professional groups (e.g. teachers or nurses), others cross departments or hierarchies; some foster collaboration and interprofessional education across professional boundaries; </li></ul><ul><li>Reduces barriers and fosters a more equitable and continuous asynchronous exchange </li></ul><ul><li>Communicate through email yet still archive all activity on the web (messages don’t get ‘lost’ in personal email folders </li></ul>
  21. 22. For example, i-Network Uganda 23,088 contributions 1545 members in 24 countries, all rallied around ICT for Development in Uganda. Also: KS by non-contributors Exposure Lobby & Advocacy
  22. 23. I-Network Uganda
  23. 24. In international development cooperation <ul><li>(and in knowledge management generally?) </li></ul><ul><li>Email is *still* the Killer App </li></ul><ul><li>& email-based virtual networking enables development through dialogue </li></ul>