Ongoing Research Map & the Cali, Columbia knowledge share fair May 2010

Huber 1991, notes that many organizations do not know what they know because they have weak systems for locating and distributing their knowledge.

The CGIAR is making great efforts to conquer this, one way is by the use of CGMap Ongoing Research in Africa, a map of projects being carried out by the CGIAR.
The map was selected as an entry for the Knowledge Share Fair in Cali that is currently taking place, one of the objectives of the share fair is to encourage sharing and learning from each others’ good practices.

In part, this is why this innovation was selected.

What knowledge sharing tools and methods did you use in your project or initiative, and how?

The system was upgraded from the initial desktop application to an interactive web database (February 2009), allowing for multiple users from across the globe to input and access research information.

The software used to design the Map (Linux, MySQL and Sympony) and agile software development allowed for iterative development to incorporate new changes coming from user feedbacks throughout the development phase while at the same time providing a cost efficient method. This choice of software also created a platform that allows for co-ownership of information among various information contributors where each was given rights to update, edit project information and invite other contributors. Further with the option for users to send messages to project scientists directly from the system, the door to online collaboration has been much widened.

Finally, newsletters, seminars, email messaging and social media tools like blogs were utilised to reach different audiences.

What were the main challenges and issues (what worked and what didn’t work) and how these were addressed? If you worked in collaboration with other organizations, please provide your reflections on this aspect as well.

Big numbers of disparate information management system in the CG with little or no integration between them resulted in centers working independently for a long time. Trying to build a system that can accommodate the varying differences and standardizing this information was the greatest challenge. By involving different key people and users in the centers in the development of the tool and distributing user roles, tremendous steps have been made to overcome this challenge.

Through collaboration with the ICT-KM Program of the CGIAR we have been able to apply the latest technology to build the system and apply a wide range of expertise support bringing in a rich and wide exchange of ideas which facilitated the speedy delivery of the system.

With the tremendous development and growth of ICTs and their use in knowledge sharing it is important that we have mechanisms that can be able to re-use this information, aggregate it and provide opportunities for synergy in agriculture development. As opposed to have 15 CGIAR websites providing similar information, Ongoing Research Map provides all this information in just one website  http:\\ongoing-research.cgiar.org

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