CKM why what how

From ilri-comms ilriwikis
  1. Rationale and role of knowledge management and communication (KMC).
  2. What you can ask ILRI CKM for?
  3. How it happens?


  • KMC contributes broadly through six different objectives to all of ILRI's critical success factors, strategic objectives, CGIAR system level outcomes
  • How? ILRI CKM support programs and units through the delivery of nine 'service packages'
  • How can you work with CKM? Follow the CKM program management framework template and make use of typical comms activities in OCS - or simply check our FAQ page to see how we can assist you with specific queries.

Impact pathway.jpg


The ILRI strategy, underlined by the [| ILRI science strategy] (introduced in [| this presentation by Iain Wright about the science strategy of ILRI]) emphasises five critical success factors (CSFs) and three overall CGIAR success factors.

Communication and knowledge management has a key role to play in all of these: ILRI critical success factors

  • Get the science right: CKM contributes in bringing external actors to improve the type and quality of research undertaken, helps improve the quality of science publications, and raises awareness of the ILRI staff in making the right 'science' decisions.
  • Secures sustainable and appropriate funding: by helping ILRI do its science better, CKM contributes to making it a more investment-worthy organization.
  • Ensure ILRI is fit for purpose: CKM supports internal communication generally and contributes to turning ILRI into an agile and cutting-edge research institute where everyone contributes to collective intelligence and foresight.
  • Grow capacity: CKM contributes to the capacity of staff to prepare better science outputs, keep on top of their field of expertise, connect with other experts, present better, engage better, plan and implement better discussions and meetings.
  • Influence decision-makers: CKM contributes to livestock advocacy to change the discourse around livestock and facilitate fundraising, but CKM also contributes to resource mobilization (fine-tuning the writing of proposals) and in helping organize successful engagement for important decision-makers.

This impact pathway graph (to be revisited) gives some sense of the outcome logic showing that CKM is contributing importantly to ILRI's mission. File:KM work ToC v.3 copy.xlsx It comes with the following theory of change narrative (to be revisited): File:The ICKM theory of change v.2.docx


All this work follows the key principles and objectives of CKM, which under Peter Ballantyne as head of CKM represented the closest thing to a CKM strategy.


  1. The knowledge we generate is made open and public
  2. We value the knowledge of our clients and partners
  3. We publish and communicate using multiple formats for multiple purposes
  4. We support knowledge collecting, connecting and conversing
  5. Face‐to‐face communications are as important as other communication channels
  6. All communications work—publishing, curating, engaging, collaborating, raising awareness and advocating change for the poor—are everyone’s responsibilities
  7. Communication is inextricably linked to research outputs and development outcomes
  8. Internal communication is part of our communication strategy
  9. Partnerships are key to our impacts
  10. We innovate in the ways we share knowledge and use ICTs


  1. Communicate evidence for wider influence [1]by engaging with and influencing decision-makers and other audiences/spanspan stylefont-family: Calibrisans-serif font-size: 10pt [2]
  2. Translate science-based practices into impact—by communicating research outputs into potential development outcomes, get knowledge into use [3]
  3. Link and connect people and knowledge to enrich collaboration, learning, interaction and knowledge exchange [4]
  4. Access, organize and manage, document, publish, communicate and disseminate research knowledge, information and data, products and outputs for wide accessibility and use [5]

[1]Activities may include developing basic materials about the project; establishing a website; making use of social communication approaches and tools that foster interaction between stakeholders; taking key messages to wider audiences through alliances, networks; and engaging with the media. [2]/spanspan stylefont-size: 8pt For more detail on typical ILRI audiences see [3]Activities may include empowering stakeholders to document, share, exchange and use knowledge; engaging with stakeholders using participatory communication approaches and tools and inclusive ‘system’ approaches like innovation ‘platforms’, learning ‘networks’ or alliances; using accessible ICTs (mobiles especially) and multimedia (radio, video, audio) to extend the reach of research messages to intermediary stakeholder and ultimate beneficiaries; making wide use of existing face-to-face and traditional communication media, such as field days, policy briefings and multi-stakeholder workshops. [4] Ensure that communications processes and approaches capture, document and make greater use of tacit knowledge, that knowledge is exchanged in innovative ways using social and participatory media, and that partners are brought together through multi-stakeholder platforms. [5] ILRI. 2016. ILRI research publishing procedure 6: Open access checklist. Nairobi, Kenya: ILRI.

These principles and objectives have often helped set comms and KM objectives in projects supported by the CKM unit. Even beyond the institute alone, ILRI has been working with other CGIAR centres to develop a 'KMCGIAR' series of briefs that focus on key KMC objectives..

Activities—CKM support packages The CKM unit works around three teams (awareness and advocacy, engagement and collaboration, publishing and curation) that take care of the following 'service packages':

1. Public awareness and advocacy (informing and influencing the larger public and specific key decision-makers) 2. Collaboration platforms and support (setting up processes and platforms for people to work with each other) 3. Process (event) facilitation, learning and support (organising effective conversations and learning processes) 4. Social engagement support (leveraging the power of social media for a variety of reasons) 5. Internal communication support (helping teams work better together at large) '6. 'Media, campaigns and influencing for big events and products (engaging with journalists and running exhibits and other 'marketing') 7. Multimedia and print publishing (publishing all sorts of outputs) '8. 'Open access curation and publishing (ensuring all your data and information is available, affordable, accessible) '9. 'Web and digital platforms and tools (setting up web platforms and other tools)

See the full list and description in this annex to the Program Management Framework about ILRI CKM service packages: File:Annex A.CKM ILRI packages.docx


Working with ILRI CKM

Successful CKM activities take place before, during and after a project takes place. The graphic below illustrates some higher-level typical activities projects engage in and shows how they will change over time. It is useful to differentiate among ‘communication about a project’, ‘communicating about the science’ and ‘communicating the science.’ All are needed; all are important; they tend to vary in importance over time. Communications and engagement activities among project partners and stakeholders need to be planned for explicitly.

At any point, you may always check our Frequently Asked Questions on ILRI communications support to find information about your specific queries. More strategically, communications and knowledge management should be part of your work (be it a project, program, unit etc.). Especially for new projects and programs, in the future, the idea is that ILRI follows the program management framework, which specifies the different kinds of products and services that ILRI CKM could provide at different points of developing a proposal and implementing the resulting project, see the table below from the ILRI CKM PMF template (File:ckm_pmf_template_js.docx).

PMF phase Key CKM actions Deliverables, inputs to: ILRI CKM unit activity packages
Proposal development 1. Facilitate and support stakeholder engagement, events, documentation
2. Specify CKM outcomes, audiences, actions and budgets
· Stakeholder process
· Concept note document
· Proposal document, including budget
· Project design events
· CKM strategy/plans
· No. 2
· No. 3
· No. 7
Planning 1. Facilitate and support partner engagement, events, documentation
2. Specify CKM plan, actions and budgets
3. Support project team collaboration
4. Communicate ABOUT the project
· Project and CKM work plans and budgets
· Project collaboration tools and support package
· Project design and inception events
· No. 2
· No. 3
· No. 4
· No. 9
Executing 1. Facilitate and support partner and stakeholder engagement, events, learning, documentation
2. Monitor CKM plan, actions and budgets
3. Deliver CKM activities and products
4. Support project team collaboration
5. Communicate ABOUT the project / Communicate ABOUT the science / Communicate THE science
· Project collaboration tools and internal comms support
· Project external communications tools
· Project publishing products
· Project reporting products
· Project awareness, advocacy and media products and activities
· Project curation and repository support—open access information products
· CKM work plans and reports
· Project review and planning events
· Project learning and/or science events
· No. 1
· No. 2
· No. 3
· No. 4
· No. 5
· No. 6
· No. 7
· No. 8
Closing 1. Facilitate and support partner and stakeholder engagement, events, documentation
2. Evaluate and assess CKM activities and products
3. Support project team synthesis, lessons learned, collaboration
4. Communicate THE science
· Project collaboration tools and internal comms support
· Project publishing products
· Project reporting products
· Science awareness and media products and activities
· Project archive—open access information products
· Project synthesis and dissemination, scaling activities
· Project knowledge legacy access
· No. 1
· No. 2
· No. 3
· No. 4
· No. 5
· No. 6
· No. 7
· No. 8
Support resources for this work · ILRI finance budget templates and guidance for project budgeting
· ILRI comms wiki with guidance, FAQ, support on branding, tools
· Publishing procedures and guidance on CGSpace
· Maarifa blog with lessons and insights
· Various resources e.g. Yammer guidelines, CoP support guidelines etc.

[NOT SURE ABOUT THIS] This PMF has been further developed into a PMF communication plan template that you can use to plan comms activities with ILRI CKM. See the communication template here: File:Communications Plan Template.docx.

In using ILRI's management information systems such as OCS, you can use ILRI CKM by requesting specific products/services. [ADD INFORMATION ABOUT THE PAID-FOR SERVICES HERE].

10 key bullet points about 'why ILRI CKM'?

(Going from outcome level to activity level)

  1. ILRI CKM contributes to all ILRI CSFs and system level outcomes
  2. ILRI CKM helps staff leverage knowledge and information to be better connected as individuals (e.g. with our respective fields of practice) and as one organisation (one collective brains whose nodes are all activated in supporting each other)
  3. ILRI CKM plays a role in advocacy for livestock (and thus investment in livestock) by engaging with policy, donor and implementation circles, and with the media at large
  4. ILRI CKM plays a key role in helping ensuring the institute's outputs are of the highest quality, and in translating this work for a range of key audiences through the production of briefs, blogs, and other communications products.
  5. The unit also has a key role to play in ensuring ILRI works with solid processes of communication, collaboration, foresight and decision-making to be more 'fit for purpose'
  6. ILRI CKM plays a key role in engaging a whole range of actors internally and externally to have more and better conversations that get our job done
  7. ILRI CKM also plays a crucial role in organizing high quality processes to make our science accessible, available and affordable, but also 'used' by other actors
  8. The internal communication work that we support helps everyone get better connected and informed, through well organised access to information and engagement/collaboration platforms
  9. There is also a role for ILRI CKM to support resource mobilisation through KMC-focused funded initiatives (e.g. CCSL, GLAD etc.)
  10. The solid processes and services we put out for our staff and partners contribute to build a solid reputation for ILRI (in turn helping with resource mobilisation, partnership development etc.)
  11. ILRI CKM also build the capacity of ILRI staff to do some of the KMC work that we do ourselves

10 bullet points to pay attention to, going forward

  1. All of this is in jeopardy if we don't pay attention to the staffing and capacities we think we have
  2. The success also depends partly on using existing systems and processes (e.g. PMF, OCS) to enforce the use of KMC work
  3. The other part of this is that the head of CKM should play an active role at informing everyone about the why/what/how of CKM and at opening doors to develop internal collaboration with various ILRI teams
  4. The question of where services are located between Nairobi and Addis is critical to provide the best services
  5. The lack of in-kind budget is a real constraint in helping the CKM team organise regular strategic conversations (e.g. in retreats and otherwise) to keep on making sense as a unit and aligning all heads in the same direction
  6. A real cost-benefit analysis for the different service packages of CKM might be undertaken to realise what are the key opportunities and what could be outsourced
  7. The wider link with CGIAR KMC is important but is jeopardised by the departure of Peter Ballantyne, the half-time posting of Ewen Le Borgne and the lack of KMC leadership at the system level office in Montpellier
  8. There is currently (late 2017) a big gap in the internal communication and who ensures it is happening, but ILRI CKM has a key role to play in this and it would make sense to approach P&OD, CapDev, Directorate etc. to agree on what needs to happen with internal comms and who takes care of it
  9. The CKM unit has been traditionally led in a fairly top-down manner with little information trickling down to all CKM staff. In the future, it would be well worth ensuring everyone at CKM is not only aware of the big picture and strategy (and also general challenges and opportunities) but also contributes to developing that strategy as we go along, and the resource mobilisation efforts that come with it. It's time to activate our own collective CKM brain
  10. As a side note perhaps, the Maarifa blog helps us make sense of our own work and prove the worth of KMC work. Without much effort put into this, there's even less apparent value in our work - I would argue: don't drop this entirely please!

Internal communication support