Apr 22, 2016

Knowledge Sharing as Duty for Development Practitioners

Jacob Bathanti , Consultant

One of the key goals of the Global Delivery Initiative is to enable development organizations and practitioners to harness and share what they know about what works and doesn't, and why, and how, to consistently deliver results. During the High Level Meetings on Knowledge Sharing for Results, an interesting panel tackled this issue, focusing on the relevance of knowledge sharing towards attainment of the 2030 SDGs. Among many issues discussed, two issues were particularly relevant for the GDI, and for GDI's ongoing efforts to connect knowledge to practice. 

Why Knowledge Sharing?

It is clear that despite the right intentions, sufficient resources, and superior technical know-how development initiatives don’t always succeed. One reason for this is the lack of transfer of tacit knowledge. This makes knowledge sharing particularly relevant in achieving the 2030 SDGs, leading Salhi El Borni, General Director of the Tunisian Agency for Technical Cooperation to say that "knowledge sharing is a duty" during the discussion. Yet demonstrating how knowledge-sharing links to results and measurable outcomes remains, at times, a challenge, and organizations continue to work to tackle this. 

Codifying the Tacit?

While much vital and important knowledge within organizations is tacit, not all tacit knowledge can be codified (by definition), and speakers highlighted this tension during the session. Some areas can be codified using structured approaches such as taxonomies and platforms, while for areas that cannot be codified, knowledge sharing depends on fostering a community where practitioners can share their experiences with one another. The role of case-studies and platforms was particularly seen as a first step towards this objective. The GDI is attempting to take these steps by connecting practitioners through a variety of modalities, and by showcasing a broad range of practitioner experiences in the Global Delivery Library. 

The panel included:

  • Maria Gonzalez de Asis, Lead Operations Officer, Global Delivery Initiative, World Bank Group 
  • Amadeus Kamagenge, Director of Community Support, Tanzania Social Action Fund, Tanzania 
  • Ian Thorpe, Chief, Learning and Knowledge Exchange Policy, United Nations Children's Fund
  • Salhi El Borni, General Director, Tunisian Agency for Technical Cooperation, Tunisia 
  • Karen Mokate, Division Chief on Knowledge Management, Inter-American Development Bank (Moderator)

Watch the entire panel discussion here.