Knowledge, information, communication – these are three assets that any research organization has to take care of. But what does work in this are actually look like, and what does it contribute to an organization like ILRI – the International Livestock Research Institute?
For a recent ILRI Board meeting, we provided an update on our Knowledge Management and Information Services team and activities. Here we share some elements of the report in an attempt to answer the questions above
In general, ILRI’s Knowledge Management and Information Systems (KMIS) teams in Addis Ababa and Nairobi aim to provide a range of support to enhance the ability of ILRI staff to capture, connect and share knowledge and to extend the accessibility, visibility and use of ILRI’s research outputs.
The team works on a range of internal ILRI projects, such as our intranet, support for communication around the strategy development process, and mechanisms for internal communication (yammer, ‘town hall’ meetings). In Nairobi, the infocenter is being transformed into a ‘communications hub’ with co-located graphics and public awareness staff and services.
The KMIS team also directly supports several research projects and specific events. Included here are communication and knowledge sharing support to three new USAID-funded Feed the Future projects on sustainable intensification; ongoing Nile Basin Development Challenge projects in Ethiopia, the IPMS project in Ethiopia, and to the new new CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish.
The team have also been called on to provide facilitation, reporting and design of a range of workshops related to diverse ILRI-led projects. This work is growing and ranges from overall design and facilitation of the ‘Livestock Exchange‘, through production of a daily conference news brief, to reporting on the development of a research tool. This is diverse work and typically draws on our expertise with blogging, photography, wikis, video reporting, facilitation, websites, graphics, and documentation.
At the core of our information management activities is Mahider – CGSpace, the repository and index of all ILRI research products. During the year, the platform grew to include outputs from other CGIAR partners (CCAFS, CPWF and ICRAF); it is also the repository of the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish.
Beyond these, We use many other ‘social’ tools and platforms to disseminate what we produce. Total views have increased from 3 million in 2009 to 8.3 million in 2011; we especially see a large growth in views of the ILRI website, our repository and our content on Google Books. Our intranet views are declining; this is mainly and deliberately due to the movement of most of our content to the ‘public’ web instead of staying internal only.
Communications and knowledge management will continue to play a key role for ILRI. Ensuring the institute remains well connected and that information is readily available both internally and externally will become even more crucial in this rapidly changing environment. Such functions will be integral to the way ILRI works with the increased focus on delivering research and development outcomes.