Making meaning: Knowledge creation, learning and documentation
Humidtropics capacity development workshop,
Nairobi, 29 April – 2 May 2014
Case Study Questions
• Which dimensions of a complex agricultural problem (biophysical,
technological, socio-cultural, economic, institutional, political) do
• Who are the key actors/stakeholders, what are their roles in the
platform and how did they interact?
• Are there multiple levels of interaction, (local, district, national,
international) did this contributed to the success of the platform?
• What are key factors/interventions that have promoted
• What have been the key changes over time (dynamics of change)?
• What challenges faced by stakeholders, and how these were (or
were not) overcome?
• How were knowledge flows and learning enabled?
Advantage of working through
• Networks evolve in
response to the
complex realities in
which they operate in
• Free flowing
participants with a
• Meaningful Innovation is
fundamentally about changing
institutional/social relationships and
developing more effective ways of
learning (Innovation Africa)
• Innovation is not about diffusion of
knowledge, but about co-creation of
knowledge at the point of action”
“The art of facilitating the
transfer of knowledge, skills
and/or attitude to people who
will use what they learn to
* Note knowledge is
• ‘‘hard’’ science, sets up hypotheses and tests them with
repeatable and quantifiable experiments.
• ‘Hard’ scientists trained to believe that the world they
experience has an independent reality which they are
discovering in their experiments.
• knowledge is independent of context and separate from the
knower, hence technologies built on scientific principles will
work independent from the people who use them.
• Technology that works under a certain set of agro-
ecological and economic conditions can be transferred to a
similar area, so long as the technology hardware (its
physical manifestation) and software (instructions on how
to replicate and use it) are faithfully reproduced.
• The social characteristics of the people adopting, and the
way the technology is introduced, do not really matter.
• Knowledge is independent of context and therefore can be
passively received ‘as is’ and ‘mapped on’ to a learner’s
• Learning process is an active one where the
learner ‘constructs’ knowledge by fitting
new information into his or her existing
ways of seeing the world.
• This construction process is social, part of
understanding new phenomena is
undertaken as a group through negotiation.
• Technical innovation is a learning process
and hence is also a social process .
• The role of a platform facilitator is to foster
a ‘social construction’ process.
• The legitimisation of new knowledge is tied
to its use, how well it serves peoples’
purposes in the real world.
The Reflection Process
Single Loop Learning
• Single-loop learning takes place when
thinking and action are modified in
accordance with the differences between
expected outcomes and obtained outcomes.
• It assumes that problems and their
remedies are close to each other.
• In single-loop learning small changes are
made to improve existing practices,
procedures or rules.
• How can we do things better? without
necessarily challenging their underlying
beliefs and assumptions.
Double Loop Learning
• Double-loop learning takes place when
assumptions or policies behind initial
expectations are questioned and
• Central question: ‘Are we doing the
right things?’, and in so doing, they
gain insights into why a solution works
or does not work.
• This shift requires an understanding of
context or of points of view.
• In this way, platforms learn how to
Questions on Stakeholders
• Who needs to be there at this stage
of the process?
• Who is there?
• What is their motivation
• What knowledge and expertise do
they bring to the platform?
• Who is not there, who we would
like to have on board?
• Why are they not there?
• What steps need to be undertaken
to get them on board?
Circle of Coherence
The Circle of Coherence
Focus on Healthy interaction and providing
space for knowledge creation and learning
•Does the network generate energy or not?
•What pattern requires most attention?
•What was done to restore connection, or raise
the level of coherence?
•What interventions are appropriate?
Group Work the role of platform
facilitators in Co-Creation of Knowledge
• As platform facilitators how have
you or would you enable the co-
creation of knowledge?
• How do you/who capture(s) the
• How do you or will you use this
Report back on how you will
implement this at action site level