About the Programme

Programme overview (summary)
This is our current two page leaflet, which provides a summary of what the Programme is about.
Programme Synthesis
This document presents our 'half-time' understanding of what the programme is doing and where it is going. It was written in October 2009.
Programme overview (detailed)
This 23-page document Emergent Issues in Information and Knowledge Management and International Development provides a detailed overview of the Research Programme’s rationale, objectives, and members. This version is from 19 July 2007
Which knowledge? Whose reality? An overview of knowledge used in the development sector.
This article, originally published in Development in Practice (16.6) in November 2006 was intended to set out the rationale for the project and the analysis from which it started The article is copyright Oxfam.

Programme Reports

Throughout the funded life of the programme, we produced an annual report. We also produced a final overview report once the first funded stage of the programme was complete.  These were written primarily as a formal requirement of our donor, DGIS, part of the Royal Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. However the management and steering group of the programme also found them a useful way of taking stock of the programme and particularly of considering the relation of our work to wider trends within international development and in public sector management. We therefore present them here, shorn of the accompanying spreadsheets.

Final Narrative Report 2011/2012 2010 2009 2008 2007


IKM Emergent presented Chris Mowles of Red Kite Partners with the challenge of evaluating the programme, jointly with Anita Gurumurthy of It for Change. Red Kite were asked to develop an evaluation methodology appropriate for the iterative nature of the programme and its interest in emergent issues.The evaluation became a continuous process which allowed the steering group and programme management to learn from the feedback Chris and Anita gave us as the programme progressed. The evaluation thus had the potential to contribute to the programme's exploration of new knowledge and learning related methodologies for the development sector as well as fulfill its internal function. Over the life of the programme they produced the following documents:

Initial evaluation review (2008)

Interim report (2009)

Fourth IKM Evaluation Report (2011)

Final Evaluation Summary

This focus on a continuous evaluative process rather than on some final judgement was considered productive and helpful by everyone concerned. This did not mean that there were not some serious disagreements on the feedback offered to the programme by its evaluators. Mike Powell and Sarah Cummings responded to some issues in the Fourth Report with an article - 'Case Study: evaluation of IKM Emergent from a complexity perspective' - published in the Knowledge Management for Development Journal 8:1, 2012. Separately, Hannah Beardon and Daniel Guijarro encouraged the many IKM participants present at the EADI General Conference in York in 2011 to reflect on their involvement in the programme. They wrote up their work as IKM Emergent:Working with Change.

IKM Working Papers with Summaries

The programme produces a range of material in various formats. Contributions which relate specifically to the development of our thinking on the issues the programme hopes to address are published as working papers. Seventeen such papers have been published to date.

As an experiment in seeking other ways to communicate the main points and arguments of longer papers written in an academic style to other potential users of the information, a substantive summary of each paper - intended to work as a stand alone document rather than as some sort of abstract - has been produced and also made available in French and Spanish.


IKM Discussion Notes

ICT4D - Emergence and Accountability, February 2010

Linked Open Information and Development, December 2010

Response to Dutch 'Knowledge for Development' Plans , January 2012

IKM Background papers

IKM has produced a number of background papers:

  • Monitoring and evaluating knowledge management strategies by Joitske Hulsebosch, Mark Turpin and Sibrenne Wagenaar, October 2009 reviews then common approaches to evaluating knowledge management.
  • ICT4D: towards a working process by Mike Powell and Andy Deardon was an IKM Background Paper, written as a resource for the Panel ‘ICTD Research: Premises, Predispositions and Paradoxes’ at the ICTD Conference, Doha, April 2009
  • IKM Work on Summaries, IKM Background Paper, February 2012, reports on various work IKM and others have done exploring the use of summaries and other 'brief' material. It includes work by Charles Dhewa, James Nguo and Mike Powell


Other papers

IKM has also produced a number of other papers, published elsewhere. For papers of more than a year old, this includes a link to the final author's copy. For newer papers, there is a link to the online abstract.

Ewen le Borgne and Sarah Cummings (2009) The tip of the iceberg: tentative first steps in cross-organisational comparison of knowledge management in development organisations. Knowledge Management for Development Journal 5(1) 39-60

Iina Hellsten and Sarah Cummings (2010)Using semantics to reveal knowledge divides in Dutch development cooperation: the case of the Millennium Development Goals. Knowledge Management for Development Journal 6(1) 70-84

Valerie A. Brown (2010) link Multiple knowledges, multiple languages: are the limits of my language the limits of my world? Knowledge Management for Development Journal 6(2) 120-131

Mike Powell and Sarah Cummings (2010) Progress to date of the IKM Emergent Research Programme: synthesis, understandings and lessons learned. Knowledge Management for Development Journal 6(2) 132-150

Sarah Cummings (2010) Dialogue of the four musketeers. Peer review of 'Knowledge management for development communities: balancing in the thin divide between tacit and codified knowledge' by Alfonso Acuna. Knowledge Management for Development Journal 6(2) 132-150


Material Generated from the Programme's Activities and Projects

Practice Based Change

Planning for uncertainty: development practice in awareness of complexity , written by Hannah Beardon, is the end product of a series of discussions and documents which led to a workshop held at the Wellcome Institute in London in  February 2012. It discusses some of the implications of IKM's work for the management of development practice, including what we have learnt from participating in IKM itself. Other documents produced in the run up to the workshop, including papers looking at aspects of Care's work in Nepal and Peru can be found in Workspace 9


Since its inception, IKM has been aware of the importance of translation to the issues it raises about the exchanges of knowledges across the various boundaries and layers which exist within the development sector. These extend far beyond the literal translation of language, although this remains fundamental, to cover the expression of ideas and meanings, formed in one context, and received and interpreted, or not, in very different ones. The difficulties of this process still plague cross cultural, inter-disciplinary and trans-disciplinary discourse about development amongst 'experts' and play still larger across the many boundaries encountered in development practice. Wangui Wa Goro has taken the lead in exploring these issues within IKM and elsewhere, developing the idea and practice of Traducture. Her work led to the hosting of a colloquium Lost and Found in Traducture by Sidensi, The Encyclopaedia of South African Arts, Culture and Heritage (ESAACH) and IKM at Cumberland Lodge,Windsor in May 2011.

Linked Open Information

A Discussion Note explains our interest in this topic. It follows experimental work and a workshop, organised by IKM in November 2010, which considered applications of linked data concerning development related information and the potential implications of such applications for the development information environment.  A   background paper outlined the rationale behind this initiative. A Draft Report of the meeting was published in December and will be followed up with working papers in 2011.

Emergence versus Control

IKM has been working with colleagues from the Bridging the Digital Divide group and from the Information Systems Group at the Judge Business School looking at the tensions between desires for predictability and control as against unpredictability and emergence in development research and development management more generally. The report of the workshop organised as part of this process in Cambridge in September 2009 is published as Working Paper no 9 above.  This is the summary of continuing work in this area published in February 2010.

Knowledge for Development

In November 2009, IKM, jointly with CTA and the University of Namibia hosted a Knowledge for Development in Africa workshop in Windhoek. CTA has produced the Workshop Report.

Cultivating Pedagogies of Life for Sustainable Communities

It is excellent to have universal primary education as a millennium development goal but what sort of education will support rural communities in the lives that they want to lead? Dan Baron and Manoela da Souza of the Instituto Transformance in Brazil have been working on this issue in the Vozes do Campo Project with rural educators in the state of Para in the North of Brazil. Their book, Harvest in Times of Drought, written in both Portuguese and English was launched in Para in October 2011 and presented at various events in London, Frankfurt and Berlin in January 2012.

Local Content

Pete Cranston and Peter Ballantyne organised a workshop in Terveuren, Belgium in October 2009 as part of a continuing project aimed at better understanding, supporting and promoting the use (at all levels) of locally produced information content. The Workshop Notes are now available. Reflections introduces Pete's thoughts on the process,links to a video introduction. Subsequent workshops, including participation at the Agropedia Share Fair in Addis in 2010 are can be found through links from the in Africa Local Content Workspace

Platforms for Sharing Local Digital Content

Michael David has been working with people from a number of sectors to explore the potential of digital story telling and telradio in Sri Lanka. IKM has published his original Telradio concept note as an IKM Background Paper. Some of his experience and links to many examples can be found on his blog Chillimango and, more recently, the Sri Lanka local media site, Telradio.

In June 2008 IKM Emergent, jointly with IT for change, hosted a workshop in Bangalore looking at the cultural and developmental issues related to digital story telling in India. It for Change subsequently produced the workshop report: Digital Story Telling

Building Shared Community Knowledges

Kemly Camacho and the Sula Batsu co-operative in Costa Rica have been working with a number of communities in Costa Rica and Nicaragua to explore community knowledge of issues related to water. They have been writing about their experiences in a series of blogs (in Spanish and English), which are brought together in Our Project

The Impact of 'Participation'

'Participation' and 'Participatory Approaches' have been widely accepted as integral to development for over twenty years. What does this mean? In particular how seriously do international agencies listen to what they could learn from the participatory methodologies they themselves use? This has been the focus of a stream of IKM's work, led by Hannah Beardon and Kate Newman, in which staff directly involved with such processes in a number of National and International NGOs participated. The work developed through a number of workshops, a workspace on this site, and two IKM working papers, No. 6 Learning from, promoting and using participation: The case of international development organizations in Kenya and No. 7 How wide are the Ripples?. Further iterations of the discussions led to the joint publication, with the International Institute of Environment and Development, of a special issue of Participatory Learning and Action.

Other related content

The dissertation, The role of individuals in organizational change (or the role of individuals in organizing the change?) was written by IKM participant, Daniel Guijarro, as part of his MA studies at the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, UK, in 2011. It explores the relationship between individuals and structures in development organizations by reflecting on his experience in Action Aid UK as a case study.

Visual Experiments

As part of its interest in how knowledge is expressed and interpreted, one part of IKM's work has focused on the information artefacts used within the development sector.  As well as examining this in the context of many of its sub-projects, the programme has also experimented with different ways of presenting itself.  These have included:

The IKM Installation

Ralph Borland created an installation for IKM at the Triennial EADI conference hosted, in 2008, by the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva in 2008. This links to photos of the installation. Ralph then produced a second, more versatile installation which was first demonstrated at ICTD, Royal Holloway, London in December 2010 and again at the Development Studies Association- EADI conference in York in September 2011

Digital Stories

With help from Michael David in particular, IKM has produced several types of 'digital story, ranging from getting authors to talk about their Working Papers to a range of less formal Voices to Camera

Graphically presented on-line material

As a contribution to the second installation, Tim Davies scripted and graphically presented some material about Open Linked Information, which could be viewed on kiosk screens at the event and is also viewable online.

Visualisation of Presentations

Visualisation is not only gaining ground in the form of computer generated graphics.  There is also growing interest in its potential as a means of communicating complex information and ideas in forms which people may remember.  With this in mind, we asked artist and graphic facilitator Roberta Faulhaber to produce a visual representation of a panel we helped to organise at the EADI conference in York in September 2011. The two session panel was entitled panel 'Participatory Knowledge Building for Development, Changing Values: experience of participatory knowledge building processes'. Details of the panel are available here. The visual notes themselves are in large files which take some bandwidth to see - these are the notes for Session 1 and these for Session 2. Roberta also developed the notes in the form of a Prezi, which might be easier to access.

IKM Presentations

Apologies, but these are quite bandwidth hungry and, I think, need Adobe Flash Player to work

Knowledges, Dialogue and Translations : shifting the gaze and practice through traducture, Martha Chinouya and Wangui wa Goro talking at the IKM session at the EADI conference, Geneva, June 2008

Reconciling Multiple knowledges: learning from the field, Valerie Brown talking at the IKM session at the EADI conference, Geneva, June 2008

Multiple Knowledges: views from the IKM programme, Mike Powell speaking at the CTA/IKM/ University of Namibia workshop on Knowledge for Development, Windhoek, November 2009