Knowledge Management for Development Journal, Vol 13, No 1 (2017)

KM4Dev Futures – and what it suggests for KM in Development futures

Pete Cranston, Jaap Pels

Abstract


In 2013 and 2014 the KM4Dev network researched and reviewed how the network operates and how it might evolve, using funds from IFAD. As is explained on the KM4dev wiki , there were several work streams that were brought together in a Synthesis project. Following the final report, the authors were involved in a daylong reflection on the report and other work streams, reported in a Google document and summarised in a blog .

The conclusion in the blog is that KM4Dev is an emergent network, that survives and thrives because of its diversity and open-ness. This case-study summarises the process and conversations that took place during the reflection and identifies what those conversations and the various reports from the IFAD-funded project suggest about the future of KM in Development. In particular the mix of processes and conversations within the network, some centrally inspired – and, to an extent, centrally controlled – and others started by individuals deliberately or as part of the normal enquiry and discussion process within KM4Dev, enabled one strand of opinion to emerge as acceptable to the network at large.
The authors consider this an example of how networks can survive and thrive by being open and enabling rather than contained and directive. In a world where successful ‘networked organisations’ are held up as models of how groups and institutions can evolve to respond to complexity, globalisation and the ever-increasing pace of change, the authors believe the KM4Dev Futures story illustrates how this can work out in practice.

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