The Death of Distance. Harvard Business School Press. However, universal access to data, information and knowledge clearly does not yet exist, and for many developing countries, it is still a distant aspiration. Access to ICTs, notably the telephone, mobile phone, internet and broadcast networks, remains unequally distributed. There are, for example, more computers in Brazil, more fixed line telephones in Italy, more mobile phones in Japan and more internet users in France, than in the whole continent of Africa.
Yet the population of Africa and the needs of its people greatly exceed those of these other countries However, despite problems, access by developing countries to the World Wide Web is growing fast. Latin America is a clear example. It shows a rapid growth in connections to the World Wide Web with more than million connected to Internet at the turn of last century. However, the challenging question is how much can or will be made of the Internet for educational purposes and learning. World Telecommunication Indicators Database. International Telecommunication Union.
Although technology alone is not enough, Information and Communication Technology ICT is crucial to support knowledge management activities. ICT for knowledge management includes in principle three kinds of systems: systems to support knowledge storage, like knowledge and information systems; systems that help to improve knowledge processes, and systems that improve organizational learning. Besides there are also systems that can combine the functionality of more than one of the systems mentioned above such as groupware systems, internet and intranet and Lotus Notes.
The network paradigm is a seductive vision to solve all the above ills in one go: why not connect the North with the South and cross-connect all the involved actors with networks? With such linkages, activities could be coordinated, knowledge could be shared between North and South as well as within and among the countries of the South, best practices could be exchanged, and common standards and procedures developed. Many have succumbed to this alluring vision and countless networks exist in the development sectorTP 34 PT.
With the growing recognition that most learning is informal, and that connecting people can help sharing knowledge, the focus has become on human groupings under various labels, like communities of ideas 35 , communities of practice CoPs 36 , formal knowledge networks and virtual teams 37 , knowledge networks 38 , thematic networks 39 , virtual knowledge communities 40 , international networks for knowledge sharing 41 and thematic groups Learning, particularly social learning in groups and organizational learning is the key.
Social or collective learning, fundamental to how development practices are improved, is key for these networks. They have emerged nowadays as a principal organizing concept in sharing knowledge. The physical interaction of participants is usually found to be essential in launching such communities or networks, but once they are launched, technology can extend the reach of a network around the globe.
ICT is becoming a catalyst in this process. ICT makes it possible to get access to global information in a way that was never possible before The social organization of innovation, a focus on stakeholder interaction Royal Tropical Institute: Amsterdam, pp. Communities of practice: learning, meaning and identity. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, pp.
Helping knowledge networks work, Version 1. World Bank Institute Thematic Groups. Communities of practice and networks: reviewing two perspectives on social learning KM4D Journal 1 1 : 6—21 www. Organizations and groups of professionals are taking advantage of the opportunities offered by the new technology to initiate these communities and networks. According to Engel 46 one of the main problems constraining the development of sustainable solutions is the one-sidedness of many social and institutional learning processes.
Innovation however has to be approached as a process of interplay among social actors from relevant social practices. This interplay is a diffuse social process which leads to new or modified problem definitions and practical solutions.
It can be qualified as networking in-and-between relevant social practices. Over time, this process of networking may lead to the gradual development of a pattern of more or less durable relationships among a number of social actors who perceive each other as relevant. Therefore, we need to introduce the concept of networking Advantages of this are that the concept of networking entails explicit recognition of ourselves as social beings, and it is connected to our concern for sustainability, since this can only be achieved where people have worked out a way of interacting with each other.
Annual Report Project No. United Nations Development Programme.
The interest in networking for learning has been growing during recent years. Creech and Willard 49 recognise four fundamental drivers behind this interest:. Networks and policy processes in international development: a literature review Unpublished paper.
Strategic intentions: managing knowledge networks for sustainable development International Institute for Sustainable Development: Winnipeg, pp.
It helps channel the knowledge and experience gained through local initiatives, into higher levels of shared understanding and improved policy advocacy. In that sense learning-oriented networks represent civil society's answer to the challenges of the emerging knowledge society see also Engel and van Zee Donors should recognise this central role of networking initiatives in boosting the knowledge base, learning processes and the civil society actors' capacity to generate and advocate proposals, and relate their funding to the relative importance they attach to it.
Capacity development, institution building, advocacy and societal change, to name just a few, are unthinkable without a considerable investment in improving networking and learning among relevant development actors.
Donors should invest in learning-oriented networking amongst their partners because they want to enable civil society both globally and locally to play a strong role in shaping the ideas and knowledge that determine our future. Besides, such investments are vital to sustain their own learning; sponsoring learning-oriented networking cannot be lacking in donors' global knowledge for development strategies Networking for learning: what can participants do? Networking among scientists and professionals has become the new model to tackle capacity building and offers great challenges to developing countries.
However, access to global information without knowledge of the local situation and context has little sense. Therefore creating international networks of professionals and communities of practice that share best practices and lessons learned from both the South and the North could be a very efficient way to this end. Moreover through such networks, developing countries can learn directly from each other by sharing indigenous knowledge and recent development successes and failures as well as from donor-country experts. At the same time it allows development institutions in the North to become more responsive to demand and knowledge flows in the South.
Lopes, K. Capacity for Development. New Solutions to Old Problems.
Knowledge networks tend to be more focused and narrowly-based than information networks; more cross-sectoral and cross-regional than internal knowledge management networks; more outward-looking than communities of practice; and they involve more partners than some strategic alliances. Hereafter some essential conceptual and system elements for the development of a network will be elaborated. It is argued that this is the place where knowledge is generated, shared and disseminated.
Two interviews were conducted with production manager in order to obtain information on the logistics chain and work organization of the production department. This workshop covers the entire enterprise search solution lifecycle including the most important concepts of enterprise search and priorities for successful solution implementations. Knowledge integration in organizations may occur through organizational routines Schuitz, , direction Conner and Prahalad, , or processes involving the sharing of explicit or implicit knowledge Grant, Some points are reminded in the following: The forming and establishing of any knowledge management project is much dependent on top management support. The OLI looks at the cultural side of organizational learning, and can be used very effectively as a framework for change management. Organizational Knowledge Framework The most generally recognized four organizational knowledge management strategies are culture, leadership, technology, and measurement The American Productivity and Quality Center and Arthur Andersen Consulting, Get tips on designing and programming video conference technology to connect participants globally, in real time, and overcome knowledge-sharing challenges when a majority of participants are either in one room together or participating on their own at locations around the world.
The third building block is the concept of Internet-based learning and education. With respect to dissemination of knowledge it is observed that both formal education and informal learning are changing rapidly due to the availability of modern ICT tools. Finally the concept of an internet-based, interactive platform is introduced as a promising knowledge management tool to offer functionalities and to deliver services to the members of the network.
Capacity Building in water sector in Africa.
Proposal for a Nile river Network. Paris, 2—4 June For every knowledge network it is essential to know where and what the problems are.
Moreover it is equally important to get access to places where relevant knowledge is generated and produced. In both cases it is necessary to get direct access to the main players in the field: the water professionals active in both public and private water sector institutions ministries, research institutions, water utilities, consultants and contractors and local capacity builders universities, poly-techniques, professional organizations, research and study teams.
Effective communication can only be achieved if the provider presents knowledge that the consumer has a desire to receive and in a form that the consumer can assimilate.
Internet has opened up new opportunities for a two-way communication and collaboration. The establishment of a network will be in support of this opportunity. In particular, services can be tailored to meet the needs of the individual and the group. This feature is probably one of the most important benefits of Internet, and lies at the heart of the network initiative. Knowledge Networks are primarily networks of people, who share a common interest, exchange ideas, and help each other.
They often develop among people with a common professional background, but they can form around almost anything. Networks in general often have little sense of common identity. Although individuals within a network may meet frequently person-to-person, the whole network rarely meets or sees itself as a whole.
Communities of Practice are the places where real value is produced through sharing ideas, insight, information, experience and tools.
Wenger et al Communities of practice are groups of people that gather around a common interest or theme, and deepen their knowledge by interacting on an ongoing basis. Such communities are where people are attracted to share a common technical interest, where they learn, teach and trust each other, and invent and develop a common sense of purpose.
In practice, all kinds of communities exist that have emerged of their own accord. They can consist of three, 20 or maybe 30 people that have found themselves drawn to one another by a force that is both social and professional. These communities cannot rely on face-to-face meetings and interactions since they link people across time zones, countries, organizational units, languages and cultures.
They rely heavily on ICT technology. Since members have less contact it is more difficult to build trust and personal relationships, which are key factors for these communities to function. Communities of practice are seen as one of the most important drivers for building capacity of both individuals and organizations.
The CoP model is especially attractive for research groups and is an excellent model of adult learning.