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World Café's buzz and energy creeps into the virtual world

Posted by Roxanna Samii Thursday, April 23, 2009

Well, let me start this blogpost by thanking everyone for their comments on the World Café post!! I am sooo happy that the World Café not only managed to create a buzz and energy in the room but has also managed to do so virtually!

Now let's go back to our story. I am sure you are dying to know what was the reward for the World Café participants!!! Hang in there, it is coming.

I had made a deal with the Eastern and Southern Africa colleagues who participated in the World Café to reconvene at 8:00am so that we could finalize the workplans as they had to present the draft plans during the plenary session to their Western and Central Africa colleagues.

Thanks to the adrenalin I woke up at 4am. I did some work and by 6:00am I was ready to go! I packed my stuff and made my way to the meeting room to get ready for another exciting day.

We had agreed to reward the participants for their wonderful work. Joyce went on a shopping expedition and came back with two boxes of souvenirs.
My first chore was to unpack the two boxes.

I opened the first box and pulled out the a mug which had a beautiful picture of massai tribe, the next one I pulled out was a swahili dictionary, there were others with beautiful pictures of the big five. I am so sorry I did not take a picture of each and every mug!!!

I put the mugs on a small table. As the participants came in I greeted them and said: "To thank you for the wonderful job done yesterday I got you a little gift". They were pleasantly surprised and found the task of choosing between the various mugs a hard task!!

Often when we talk about KM, there is always someone who asks what are the incentives to engage in KM activities or asks the question "what is my incentive to share knowledge".

I am never quite sure what people mean by incentives... When I hear this type of comment, I ask myself, do we need an incentive to eat or breath? Do we need incentives to go to bed and sleep? Well, if KM and knowledge sharing is part and parcel of our life, we just do it. So what is all this talk about a "need for incentives"?? I still do not know nor understand.

Well, my mentor Nancy was right.... you need to celebrate your successes. This small gesture made the experience of World Café participants more memorable and made my task of regrouping them to finish the workplans easier!!

The three groups found their respective members and started finalizing their work which was presented during the plenary session.

Prior to the workshop, Miriam, Helen and I had suggested that as part of the overall networking it would be a good idea to have a joint session to set the tone and agree on common expectations. We had discussed that this joint session could be used to collectively come up with some priorities, exchange information and knowledge. This was not deemed useful by all concerned.

The plenary session made it very clear that the entire network would have benefited from this joint session. Well - we live and we learn. I just hope that those who did not agree with the suggestion now realize that we would have had a much richer discussion and exchange if we had had a joint session early on.

During the plenary session representatives from Western and Central Africa and Eastern and Southern Africa presented their action plans and list of priority activities for the following three key components:

The plenary session allowed the participants to further validate and comment on the respective workplans. At the end of the session, the 2 arms of the network realized that they could learn and share a lot with each other. They also realized that they were not alone on this journey and could tap into the knowledge and experience of other networks both within and outside the region.

We finished off the day by discussing governance issues - such as the network steering committee and possibility of engaging with other like minded organization.

I also ended up doing an impromptu synthesis for our guest of honour. I really deserved my red glass of wine at the end of the day.

That is all for now, good bye and good nite. A domani

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