Commsplanning feb2015

From ilri-comms ilriwikis

ILRI 'comms' planning meeting Addis Ababa 2-4 February 2015 Lalibela Auditorium

In 2014, we set up a new 'communications and knowledge management' (CKM) team to bring together all staff working in this area. We agreed that the wider ILRI 'comms' community of practice will meet at least once a year to review lessons and progress and set out ILRI-wide plans and priorities.

The 2015 meeting will be held at ILRI Ethiopia from 2-4 February. The first two days will be more explicitly reviewing and planning (with Shirley joining us). We will use the third day as a more hands-on learning day working on specific tools and products that need attention.

The objectives of this meeting are: 1. Review 2014 progress and results, including the implementation of the new organizational set up 2. Agree the primary CKM product and service value propositions and service packages for ILRI (and how they fit ILRI budgeting norms) 3. Agree plans and priorities for 2015 for different CKM teams, institute-wide activities, and any significant initiatives to be delivered in the year 4. Work on different tools and skills and procedures, ensuring that all team members are able to deliver consistent products and services across ILRI and that our 'back office' is smart and efficient

Some general stats

CKM draft plan from mid 2014:



Monday 2 Feb
Morning Arrivals and preparation

Welcomes etc
2014 Review
- New structure
- Achievements
Looking back on 2014, with a few points on our agenda now (Peter)

Exercise: achievements (Ewen)
1600 2014 Review
- Lessons
Exercise: lessons, S&W (Ewen)
1700 2014 project insights asana] - ben
- OCS communications - ewen
- lives comms and km - fanos
- regional comms - jules
- web services - daniel
- publishing - emaelaf
1740 2015 in prospect Opportunities and threats/The wider ILRI/CGIAR picture (Shirley)
1800 Close
Tuesday 3 Feb
0900 Planning 2015 and beyond
- Priorities (what to work on)
Quick intro to CKM structure/plan
Exercise: CKM priorities (Peter)
where to focus our efforts
1030 Break
1100 - Priority deliverables (what to deliver) Our big projects and deliverables in 2015
Inputs from different people
what and when and who by
1230 Lunch
1400 - Priority deliverables (what to deliver) salesforce] -ben
- cgspace - abenet
- engaging with media - ethel
- ILRI40 - shirley
- supporting a CRP - tezira
- supporting workshops - tsehay/muthoni
- blogging - paul
- storify - paul
1500 Break
1530 - Ensuring delivery (workflows, behaviours, delivery models) Looking at different approaches and tools we use to deliver well, eg:
- budgeting for CKM
- working together
- delivery packages/models
- promoting and marketing
- ensuring quality
1700 - Synthesis, Next steps, Actions
1800 Close
1830 Dinner Top View
Wednesday 4 Feb
0900 Intro (Peter)

Process for the day (Muthoni / Tsehay / Ewen)
Identifying what we want to do
0930 Hands on work on tools, products, workflows, procedures / discussions on things

Small group discussions
small group discussions (of people involved)
* Curating flickr - abenet/susan/apollo
* POD microsite - peter/angela/ben/danny
* Events/seminar series - ewen+
* Storify and livestock matters - paul/betty/angela
* Cgiar website curation
* Developing a dashboard peter/ben/
* Producing campus calendars - meron/angela/
* Producing newsletters (blog, mailchimp...)/ ben/tezira/betty/
* Digital signage - abenet/danny/paul
* Publishing procedures/pipelines - emaelaf/meron/
* Using Outlook calendars for the team?
* The Nairobi infocenter revamp - Angela/
1045 Break
1115 Open Space Technology
# Whoever comes is the right people
# Whenever it starts is the right time
# When it's over, it's over
# Whatever happens is the only thing that could have, be prepared to be surprised!

And use the law of the two feet!

Hands on work on tools, products, workflows, procedures / discussions on things

Hands-on tools and other discussions:
Hands on (about a tool/system)
* Asana - ben/ewen
* Salesforce - ben/abeba/
* Keeping google calendars updated - abeba/angela/
* Generating cgspace reports - abenet/cgspace editors/
* Curating cgspace (mapping) - abenet/cgspace editors/
* Using Storify - paul/susan
* ILRI website curation -
1230 Lunch
1400 Brainstorm: new and exciting tools and approaches:
* How to develop our capacity to be innovative
* What specific innovations could we dream up
1500 Break
1530 Plenary reporting, synthesis and next steps
1630 Close

Meeting notes

Various notes are based on Yammer reporting (from Susan MacMillan and Ewen Le Borgne).


Peter Ballantyne gave an overview of results, agenda, and plans.

Today we'll do an exercise on our strengths and weaknesses We'll have a series of small presentations today and tomorrow. Shirley will give us an overview of external environment and major ILRI priorities Tomorrow we'll plan for 2015 Priority deliverables How to ensure delivery Wed we'll be in groups the whole day discussing projects, tools and brainstorming new ways to work.

Achievements 2014

In this session we asked everyone to pick three post it notes of different colours to write their a) personal b) team and c) CKM [ILRI Comms team] achievements. Then we did a speed-dating exercise for 20' to share these and ultimately report them on the smartboard for the record and we teased out key ones.

Personal achievements

  • Abeba Asmelash: I have tried to run smoothly the unit's admin (across borders)
  • Angela Nekesa: The opportunity to work with a dynamic group of communicators taught me a lot of things in comms e.g. new tools (learnt how to use Asana)
  • Apollo Habtamu: Produced quickly the videos of key speakers of ILRI@40
  • Ben Hack: SF data model
  • Betty Alemu: Able to give support at ILRI@40. Managing lots of publications
  • Bizuwork Mulat: Capturing works of ILRI to CG Space and Slideshare
  • Brian Kawuma: I have written 6 blogs in the past 6 months
  • Daniel HaileMichael: DAGRIS database
  • Emaelaf Kebede: Managed well the publishing team + info centre team smoothly
  • Ethel Makila: Played larger role in balancing new partnerships in BecA by representing at conferences and managing engagements
  • Ewen Le Borgne: I have a new position, I blog even more and facilitate a lot... while being a dad for the second time
  • Fanos Mekonnen: Helped in documentation and sharing of LIVES documents (wiki, CGXchange, blog, FlickR)
  • Jane Gitau: Raised the profile of ILRI through blogging about projects and events + In 2014 I blogged about various events thus keeping knowledge sharing alive
  • Jules Mateo: ILRI Asia blog; monthly quota, some announcements, One Health workshop. Humidtropics comms workshop
  • Muthoni Njiru: Put together a video that I'm proud of (was used at T2 launch)
  • Paul Karaimu: Quality / editorial checking/reviewing for various ILRI blogs/products
  • Shirley Tarawali: Completed all the ILRI@40 with a lot of help!
  • Sisay Webshet: Completed my MSc degree in delivering m3 project) + having a chance to see Holland and getting some knowledge from participants at the CG Space meeting
  • Susan MacMillan: Managed to put writing at the centre of my outputs - via blogs, media, email, Yammer, Twitter - in spite of ILRI@40 derailments + wrote daily
  • Tezira Lore: I was part of the taskforce that organized ILRI@40 Nairobi which was a huge success
  • Tsehay Gashaw: Maximized capacity building. Team focused and general through komms klinics. Learning new skills (facilitation and supporting)
  •  ??: Multitasking worked for me including supporting the regions

Team achievements

  • Regional comms:

ILRI in E&SE Asia: Draft of regional strategy brochure and Vietnam country flyer; website update (overview, projects, events, people), Proofreading of some documents / presentations; more photos added to FlickR; Presentations on Slideshare / CG Space. Uganda: We initiated the Multistakeholder platform for the Uganda pig value chain and among our fruits is the cooperative movement in Masaka

  • Programs:

Africa RISING: Captured key activities of Africa RISING photo trip reports and some videos ASSP: I managed to archive a lot of my team work on the wiki. This made their work accessible more than ever before BecA: New grants to begin in 2015 --> 2 have been signed and one is approved but yet to begin FSZ: The Food Safety and Zoonoses program produced a good number of outputs which have all been indexed in CGSpace LIVES: Established 25 agri-knowledge centers (resource centers)

  • A&A:

Design / brand: Managed to keep writing (blog and other) at the heart of my work in 2014 in spite of ILRI40 distractions and managed to help produce corporate comms products that we hear continue to make ILRI stand out in comms

  • E&C:

Structured meetings that assisted each of us with projects that were in the pipeline (teamwork) Biweekly team-meetings created a sense of belonging and enhanced teamwork in the team - more collaboration on projects P&OD microsite We expanded the facilitation capacity quickly and the results are appreciated (also for collaboration projects)

  • P&C:

More editorially consistent blog posts/articles We were able to produce lots of publications on time Produced many standard ILRI products and published My team were able to bring the attention of some CG centres to use CG Space

  • ??

close collaboration within Working with a great team spirit for ILRI40 - supporting each other

CKM achievements

  • Contribution to public awareness (mostly on Twitter, Yammer), promoting ILRI's house style
  • More visibility of who we are and what we do
  • Expanded our presence/support to more teams and regions: good for this year's recharging business
  • Support given during ILRI@40 showed each person's strengths (renewed appreciation)
  • Team work at ILRI@40 (x3) / working together to deliver ILRI@40
  • Deep involvement at ILRI@40 (our bookmark)
  • ILRI@40 Nairobi celebrations - organizing the overall event and specifically being part of the facilities-tour management teams
  • The CKM team was part of corporate efforts towards ILRI@40 events in different locations
  • ILRI@40 live streaming
  • The CKM team has made data mining and communication a walk in the park thanks to the various tools and platforms
  • CKM is able to publish and curate ILRI's research outputs
  • Social media: managed to raise the level of awareness of ILRI and its mission and accomplishments - ILRI is seen as highly active among non-ILRI communities - largely through social media (blogs etc.)
  • Helped in sharing project approaches and methods by using different tools
  • Reorganizing and working as CKM
  • Reorganization --> CKM. Many new PPTs. Some new 'concepts'. Addressing demand
  • High recharge (Service and staff time) - high record
  • Made available products for CKM to upload, blog etc.
  • Producing and delivering quality services on time

Lessons learned from 2014

In this second exercise, we did a 1-2-4-all exercise on fundamental lessons we learned individually or as an ILRI Comms team. We tried to cluster them and unpack them further as small working groups, finally teasing out key ones for each group in plenary.

The overview of day 1 is available here: File:ckm.pdf see also the picture file.

Day 1 reflections

We liked: mini-presentations, looking back at achievements in speed-dating mode, stats overview... What was striking/interesting: the focus on 'soft stuff' (how we work)... Team work is very important but there are things we need to do besides team work and we have to communicate, plan etc.

On our CKM agenda for 2015 - Shirley

  • The (A)RPM in May which will involve one CKM staff centrally and all program comms folks. Big focus on science.
  • The change process at ILRI and looking at critical success factors and a dashboard with indicators (consultant George Levy will be helping us with this). A taskforce will work with George and Shirley.
  • Following the Borlaug Dialogue, there was a push to have a 'main event' (not a side event) this year.
  • Asking our scientific colleagues about the big things they're working on... We want to share more information about the science, have more seminars and training/coaching.
  • Iain started a process around the science strategy that each region/program/CRM needs to develop re: resources, staff, communication needs etc. An IRMC meeting in mid-March will probably present these (by then) well advanced plans. As OCS comes on and the proposal development module is set up, we hope that this offers another opportunity to instil comms ideas into this.
  • We will also have to work with the new assistant of Jimmy W. Smith on internal communication. This is sthg where we need to work very closely with P&OD.
  • CRP phase 2: every CRP is going through to end 2016 in an interim phase and in the meantime there will be opportunities to submit concept notes for new CRPs. It looks like there will be fewer CRPs but guidelines are still unclear. For ILRI we've started talking inside the L&F CRP about our positioning, about integrating a much bigger CRP with systems work around e.g. Dryland systems.
  • Food safety certainly remains a very important part of our CRP approach. The idea of co-location has been stressed: make intentional connections between CRPs where they work together. We are expecting more clarity by the end of this quarter and by September there should be some concept notes invited.
  • In terms of funding, the consortium funding will not keep growing so we need to mobilize resources and identify gaps. Selling the science that we do is critical and CKM is integral in this effort.
  • The revised Strategy and Results Framework is being finalized and there are also discussions about governance.

Q&A / comments: - In planning, perhaps it'd be good to be more intentional about our involvement in countries. ILRI is still perceived as a high-up institute and people in the countries are not sure about what we do. We should not get 'accidental success' but rather think it through. --> In Ethiopia we are extremely well positioned through the livestock master plan and perhaps we can use that work in other countries. There is also the development of an Africa-wide livestock strategy and various ILRI folks have been involved in this. When that's approved, ministers of Ag will invest in livestock and that's an opportunity for us in the countries that matter for us. We can help prioritize. - We have an opportunity of looking at how the work we do on e.g. CAADP can influence countries to work with us as they would see a benefit...

Planning and Scoring Exercise

1. Each group needs 2 files, see below. 2. Save them both and rename according to the group name 3. Instructions are in the first slide of the PPT file 4. Data needs to be entered in the XLS file 5. Charts auto-generated in XLS should be copied to the PPT for presentation. 6. On completion, please upload both your files here, using consistent file names.

The original files:



Aggregated synthesis of the 4 groups



Dream Team Group



Hive 6 Group



Serengeti Group



C&C Group



Ensuring 'delivery'

Peter introduced the exercise suggesting that we need to pay more attention to the ways we deliver. He started us off suggesting some important attention areas:

  • Effective communications (In the team)
  • Value for money delivery packages
  • Promoting and marketing
  • Ensuring quality
  • Documenting and sharing our learning

Team members formed buzz groups to consider these and add further ones. After all were listed on the smartboard, people prioritized the topics they thought were most important to ensure delivery.The long list comprised:

  • Effective communications (in and beyond the team)
  • Determining and delivering 'value for money' service packages
  • Promoting and marketing
  • Ensuring quality
  • Documenting and sharing our learning
  • Targeted dissemination
  • Spread opportunities / the load
  • Develop our individual effectiveness and collective potential for innovation
  • Have ready access to good external expertise (and specify internal added value)
  • Plan to deliver timely delivery of outputs
  • Develop contingency plans
  • Foster peer to peer learning and best practices
  • Co-creating products
  • Limit and prioritize work in progress
  • Plan together
  • Update and refresh and develop expertise and capacities
  • Extend and improve guidelines for services and tasks

Small groups then formed to discuss the top areas:

  • Ensuring quality
  • Co-creating products
  • Limit and prioritize work in progress
  • Determining and delivering 'value for money' service packages

Reflections on day 2

Our collective reflections Good to do the collective prioritization and to have the visual results. We have to do more on engagement and collaboration. So much relates to our personal effectiveness, saying no, planning, time management etc. Good structure for the meeting - it opened our mind - we used different tools etc. which is good to reflect on what we've been doing and what we need to do. Let's have a parking lot for all issues that are coming to our minds. Issues varied and the set up, using different ways of engagement was nice. Nice mix of people. No real break, we were pretty busy...

Shirley's reflections

  • It's been a great day with a lot of creative thinking engendered by the environment and tools we used.
  • A lot was on process (the 'how') and improving people's understanding of what people are doing, the tools, the environment etc.
  • We need to build on this and transition into which tools for which tasks.
  • Yes to start thinking about how this work can connect with our KRAs. We need to have that connection.
  • KRAs: it doesn't matter that we don't have the KRAs now. We can still write them and think about deliverables against these KRAs.
  • When we tell people we have these meetings others ask 'how can you do that without researchers in'? But we have embedded CKM folks and we do this for the ILRI strategy as a whole. It's about influencing, capacity development, research at scale etc. and CKM has a role in all of this.
  • Internal comms has been mentioned a lot: how to think about that more? Have a CKM champion to do that?
  • We want some simple workflows, SOPs that everybody can dig into. This needs to be practical enough.
  • Tezira's model of engaging with the FSZ team was good to get everybody aware, to make sure everyone provides her with information. Let's use a similar approach.
  • Website development is a priority.
  • The people who are leading the different teams are not necessarily the ones (or their teams) to deliver everything. But they need to ensure things are delivered to ILRI standards (link with consultants)...

Have a great day tomorrow and we look forward to keeping the momentum.

Day 3 sessions

A list of specific conversations was prepared by Peter:

  • Curating Flickr - abenet/susan/apollo
  • POD microsite - peter/angela/ben/danny
  • Events/seminar series - ewen+
  • Storify and livestock matters - paul/betty/angela
  • Cgiar website curation
  • Developing a dashboard peter/ben/
  • Producing campus calendars - meron/angela/
  • Producing newsletters (blog, mailchimp...)/ ben/tezira/betty/
  • Digital signage - abenet/danny/paul
  • Blogging workflows - paul/susan/+
  • Publishing procedures/pipelines - emaelaf/meron/
  • Using Outlook calendars for the team?
  • The Nairobi infocenter revamp - Angela/

Notes from these discussions:

Events and seminar series (Emaelaf, Ewen, Muthoni)

Seminar Series Observations Poor attendance Key quest are invited and the quorum is low

Recommendations Develop new ways of ensuring attendance/participations. Instead of pushing our agenda, consider pulling the agenda of what the what scientists want to hear about. Peg seminars to the planned theme meeting- dept's have established meetings (team meetings), this is an opportunity to engage with themes on potential seminars held during these meeting that can be open to other ILRI colleagues and outside partners. Improve the profiles of the speakers to state why this is beneficial to one's career Structured schedule with seminars for 2015. Expand the seminar topics. Make the seminars structured on improving skills. Encourage management buy in. Less frequency and higher quality. Less jargon in presentations. Consider FMC gorilla seminars.

Events Observations List of Events

Recommendations Monitor and Evaluations one pages ( exhibits, launches, roundtables, field tours etc) Science events (proceedings) One pagers -exhibit reports needed (cost of exhibit, participants (who), take aways)

Storify and Livestock Matters

Issues raised/conclusions/recommendations

  • It is also another form of curation, a different way of presenting.
  • The question of using Storify automatically or manually. For Livestock Matters, automatically doing it would be helpful. If done manually, then it wouldn’t be any different from the traditional method of preparing it.
  • Do we need a dedicated person for Storify?
  • We need to look into the Enterprise solution.
  • This tool needs to be explored by people who actually use it. We need to see/come up with the added value of Storify as an ILRI tool. What makes it different? What sets it apart from all the other tools we’re already using?

Open Space

The following ideas were discussed: Conversations:

  • Consolidating and managing social media platforms
  • Image/picture work
  • Crisis communications

Tools presentations/discussions:

  • Exporting contact information from a Google Spreadsheet to Outlook, then using Outlook MailMerge.

Consolidating & managing social media platforms

Facebook? LinkedIn? Google+? RebelMouse? Instagram? Storify? Insights:

  • ILRI Facebook has over 5600 members.
  • BioInnovate and BecA have some good experience with FB, including weekly M&E reports
  • Shall we dump Instagram? But before doing that, we should check if it's possible to connect/transfer to/from Pinterest/FlickR
  • Google+ is probably not an option...
  • Facebook can have security settings tweaked - Use it instead of a newsletter?
  • Nonprofit Tech for good can provide a study to explain to us how we should use social media?
  • Drop LinkedIn group or Facebook - we can't do engagement at both
  • We need a requirement analysis for social media (including the rationale for using this or that platform)
  • Consolidation sounds like a good idea?
  • Twitter is a good S.M. to keep (as it targets the right audience)
  • Engagement has to grow up generally
  • Mobile integration to consider?
  • Use Instagram only for a very 'radical' collection of pictures (low maintenance)


  • Check non-profit tech for good (for free advice)
  • Pick and choose which social media to do our engagement with?
  • Make an analysis of who's on what platform (in relation with Salesforce)
  • Update our ILRI comms wiki to explain the rationale behind each SM channel
  • Look at good practices that are out there for each SM channel
  • Develop a simple requirements/analysis process or sheet

Image work

Image editing, boards, collages, infographics, etc. Via PicMonkey and Cava (for image editing), Visme (for infographics)

Insights: Images are more and more important to incorporate in our social media We need to be able to manipulate images fast to attract readers and to stand out.

Recommendations: Use PicMonkey to edit, enhance, crop, etc, pictures quickly, or to make collages quickly or to insert a tact title on an image with a burred background, and so on. These enhanced images can then be used for slides, blog posts, Facebook and Twitter covers, etc. We should explore tools like Visme for creating infographics. We might consider using Pinterest to store various collections of images taken by others that we like and could use in future. We could also use Pinterest to store videos in a similar way, which viewers can watch inline.

Crisis communication (media engagement)

It all started with the Ebola crisis and linking it to a zoonotic disease. Insights: ILRI staff are engaging with media, but how do we know what has been discussed? Instructions are owned by individuals Recommendations:

  • Clear engagement guidelines / policy on dealing with the media
  • Contact list --> who to contact on sensitive topics (e.g. GMOs)
  • Update PPM (Personal manual / P&OD) with handy reference notebook
  • Formal, structured policy on engagement with media and print (scanned)
  • What happens when things go wrong? Form a close group (what where when why)
  • Pass information through the PI when dealing with partners
  • Ensure that partners are acknowledged in communication; share with them to make sure toes are not stepped on

M&E of CKM

This was not presented nor discussed in a group but it was proposed as one of the potential conversation topics. Some ideas are introduced here. The gist of it:

  • Metrics related to: Produce > Reach > Engage > Influence > Impact
  • More emphasis should go to F2F than just social media
  • We have some choices to make around e.g. specific campaigns
  • Connect this work with KRAs, dashboard etc.

Day 3 afternoon

How to be more innovative

For this exercise we did a '25-10 Crowdsourcing' exercise to identify big ideas to be more innovative and the first steps towards these. Each idea thus ended with an overall scoring of between 5 and 25 points. The top 10 (and all other) ideas were:

  1. Reward innovation through prize or trip / vacation: 1. Select a process that needs improvement and get the team to rank ideas (25 points)
  2. Flexibility to work from home when necessary. 1. Discussions with supervisors (24 points)
  3. Ex-aequo Start program open days: this can be on a monthly basis where a programme showcases its work to ILRI staff and hosted institutes' staff. Action: write a proposal/concept note (22 points)
  4. Ex-aequo Every Friday afternoon ILRI comms staff STOP ALL NORMAL WORK and gather in innovation spaces to create something together: 1. Create great innovation spaces 2. Design first project 3. Start to create first project
  5. Ex-aequo: More open innovation campaign at ILRI: 1. idea management before as beginning of proposal process. 2. Leverage social enterprise for identifying latent brokers (18 points)
  6. Ex-aequo: Retreat (18 points)
  7. Develop an online "idea bank" where people can brainstorm online and post suggested improvements to our systems in CKM. 1. Create online shared space on CGXchange. (17.2 points - 21 from 6 votes)
  8. Work from home at times you are not able to come to work (17 points)
  9. Ex-aequo 1 day off once a month to better focus and do some innovation work (16 points)
  10. Ex-aequo Work from a quiet place where you can concentrate and get inspired (16 points)
  11. Ex-aequo Once a month (last Friday?) "C&KM" collective Twitter chat for the whole team - on a different topic, 1-hour only, led by tiny team, synthesis in Yammer (16 points)
  12. Collaboration with like-minded organisations e.g. meetings + conferences on agriculture, livestock etc. regularly (15 points)
  13. Ex-aequo Investigate impact of communications on research uptake (14 points)
  14. Start storytelling days (once a month) (14 points)
  15. More__ (internal) __communication__ for E&SE Asia - policy of openness and full disclosure through a __monthly meeting via WebEx, Skype etc.
  16. Toast master - every fortnight (13 points)
  17. Ex-aequo Always make sure you do Z quality work!!! (12 points)
  18. Ex-aequo Every CKM person should "buddy up" with someone else to help and challenge each other (once a month have a 30 minute chat) 1. Organize buddy list on wiki (12 points)
  19. We can make ILRI considered a reference point__ regionally and internationally as an __authority in food security issues (get us mentioned a forums and global meetings and get invited to participate). 1. Strategic A&A plan that is developed by comms in collaboration with institutional management (director/program leaders) to ensure we have a very deliberate plan. (11 points)
  20. Ex-aequo Friday afternoon sharing events (Q&A, tools, news) (10 points)
  21. Ex-aequo TOP quality outputs (10 points)
  22. Infocentre pillow/cushion Fridays with flipcharts (once a month). 1. Decide what topics the month before (9 points)
  23. Use every Monday morning to organize and plan one's work to be effective throughout the week (7 points)
  24. Ex-aequo

> Quality checkers through employing more staff (7 points) Peter commented that not all these ideas ensured innovation happens (e.g. rewarding someone for innovation, working from home don't necessarily lead to innovation).

Innovation ideas


Make use of the diversity of ILRI by co-creating a big project every year, one year on E&SEAsia, the next year on South Asia, and the next on Africa. Each CKM staff offers a piece or more that moves them. These are a wild mix of stuff---video footage from drones, stories from little girls, triumphant audio interview of a food producer, heartache of failure, still photos, etc. Use a masterful creator cum editor to pull all this together to create a kalaidescope-like product that truly gives a sense of life in that part of the South. This annual series of products will help change the narrative about the South, will be wildly different from normal CG speak, and will help make ILRI a standout in CGIAR and wider circles.


Three ideas:

  • Have a 'Comms caravan' with a team of us coming to visit a scientist team to present work, latest outputs, ask some questions about CKM tools and practices from our colleagues, responding to needs and questions etc. And if possible using opportunities to do this also in other countries.
  • Use gamification: either a) as a 'fun theory' kind of way to have our colleagues and partners/clients explore our tools with fun or b) as developing a game explaining how the use of comms/KM can really help.
  • The ILRI TV channel: an 'off', radical, funny, sarcastic TV channel that goes investigate who ILRI is, what we do, what results we get. All o this with quick and dirty videos so we don't dwell on producing these videos. Most of the stuff would be for internal comms, but the good stuff would be for outside too (if appropriate too).

Closing notes from Peter

We started off with a lot of achievements etc. We talked about lessons from last year and e.g. how much process we focused on (client engagement, saying no etc). A lot of things were delayed but a lot happened. We must make sure that what we must__ deliver we __do deliver. Big process focus and we need to pay attention to this. We need to see what we can do about this from a management and an individual side. Yesterday we looked a planning about what is happening at ILRI etc. After that we discussed about the 6 areas (AA, EC, PC) etc. and we have an idea of which projects seem to be more important. We also discussed constraints (money etc.) and we need to unpack some of these things. We came back to the notion of enablers (yesterday we focused on things we’ll have to do differently e.g. quality insurance, limiting work in progress, co-creating products etc.). Some of these are quite tough (e.g. enforcing or inviting people to have e.g. a transparent task list). Today we worked more on hands-on, conversations on projects and workflows. We keep talking about workflows and for almost every tool we have a workflow. Perhaps scientists don’t know about this but we have them and we need to make sure we know them ourselves. We heard lots of tips and tricks for individuals. Everyone has these tips and tricks. How do we make time for innovation etc.? And what interesting ideas. This is the journey we went through.

What’s next? We have to absorb, capture, reflect on all of this. One of our deferred things are the CKM plans, strategies etc. for the different teams. There are different types of strategies etc. We need to get our budgets done this week and there’s been a lot of toing and froing on this. Budgets are not cut they are just done differently and we need to inform them about this. We have to work on media engagement etc. and I see those being organized by small groups of people and involving people as and when. The dashboard that Shirley mentioned: the ILRI management and Board want this with indicators, performance of ILRI, programs, individuals etc. eg. CG Space has data in it, how to use that etc. Ditto for webstats etc. We need to work more on that. Processes and workflows: we need to work more on those. Innovation spaces: They are also based on learning, interaction etc. We need to find how to do that in a sensible way.

Big things for 2015: New opportunities with e.g. CRP phase 2; we have new tools (Salesforce etc.); Revamping our big platforms (e.g. ILRI website); lots of new and big ideas coming from us and from our scientist colleagues; new capacities (eg. 3 people joining Susan this year). We will have more people to help us with this. I really enjoyed this, the interactions, discussions, some push back & forward. The next big event is the APM/IRPM. There will be a science review of ILRI. We’ll all be on Yammer. Asana had a mixed feedback but I’m not ready yet to give it up. It was ranked low but we need to see if there’s something more we can do with it. We had 13-14 presentations – thank you to all the presenters. Shirley found them very useful. We communicate a lot about what we do but are people really listening. Thank you facilitators Ewen, Muthoni, Tsehay and all facilitating groups today etc. and Abeba.

Thank you all very much. We hope next year could be a real retreat… Lots of engagement etc.

After Action Addendum by Susan

ILRI FILMS Do we need to use Vimeo?

ONLINE PICTURE EDITING TOOLS I had a chance to demonstrate two online picture editing and design tools---PicMonkey and Canva. I prefer PicMonkey for most image work, but Canva has some options not available on PicMonkey. Check them both out if you are interested. These programs let you do lots of image manipulation without having to learn the intricacies of Photoshop!

I think some of us should be getting skilled in producing InfoGraphics. Visme is often cited as one of the best for this. Other tools you know of? Who is interested in this?

TRELLO I briefly introduced Trello to some people at breakfast. I love this program for managing my blog writing.

TUMBLR I have a Tumblr blog. Anyone else? If so, do you post ILRI/livestock stuff on it? See me if you are interested in learning a bit about Tumblr and why I like it.

CONTRACTING FREELANCERS Iddo Dror is using Elance to contract freelancers worldwide for specific projects. Can be quite useful for finding people to do quick and cheap work for us. See Iddo for more. Or Ben. I have slight knowledge of how it works but have been impressed with some results.

GOOGLE KEEP Google Keep is a little program available to all of us. I use it daily. If you are interested, I could do a little show-and-tell on a Friday comms gathering to show you why I like it so much.

List of major events Communally-created list of major events in 2015 we should all be aware of and many of us contributing to in one way or another.