Welcome to IKM Emergent

IKM Emergent Programme - Archived Website (last updated, June 2104)

Welcome to the IKM Emergent Website. Like the programme it is part of, it aims to explore, through multiple lenses and a variety of perspectives, what information and knowledges are used in the international development sector, how they are expressed, handled and received, and the possibilities for change if we are to make best use of emerging informational developments in the way we understand our work and communicate with others.

For further information about IKM Emergent and what it has produced, see 'About the programme' or Programme Documents.

What's new

IKM Panel at EADI 2014 General Conference

IKM participants Kemly Camacho, Sarah Cummings and Mike Powell will team up with John Akude and, hopefully, a lively audience to discuss The Continuing Problems with Development Knowledge: what may be done. The panel is scheduled for 11.00 AM on Wednesday 25th June, 2014.

IKM Emergent Final Narrative Report Published

In our experience, all funded programmes, however unconventional, have to produce a final report. IKM Emergent was no exception. We chose to use ours to try and identify the main areas in which we - to the extent that participants in the programme can be seen as a group - think differently about development as a result of its work and to reflect on how we tried to work to a different rhythm too. As such, albeit in the language of a formal report, it foreshadows many of the issues which will be explored in much more graphic detail in our (still forthcoming) books.

What is happening with IKM Emergent?

The programme's initial stage - and its funding - came to an end in February 2012.  Since then time has been spent polishing the final pieces of work most of which have now been published and can be found through the links on the Documents page. A  Newsletter, covering the final months of the programme was also produced in the summer.

The programme's content is also making a significant contribution to four books which are currently in development and all are likely to be published next year.  IKM's partner, Sidensi, is working on a collection of papers, edited by Wangui wa Goro, based on the  Lost and Found in Traducture Conference held in May 2011. Another collection of writings, provisionally entitled 'The Spirit and not the Letter: Towards a human space for development', being edited by Ineke Buskens, Matt Smith and Mark Thompson explores methods which enable recognition of and continuing alignment with original intent throughout the complex and emergent realities of development programmes.

IKM is also working on two books it intends to publish itself. One, written by Michael David and Kemly Camacho describes and theorises what the programme has learnt about local knowledge processes and their potential connection to more formal development interventions. The other, being written by programme directors Mike Powell and Sarah Cummings, will attempt to sum up what the programme as a whole has learnt about the multiple connections between knowledges and development, within the context of changing worlds, over the life of the programme.

We will keep you informed with progress on all of the above as and when it comes about. As for what happens next, we have had some ideas on how to take this collaboration forward but experience has taught us that our current ideas will change as we go through a process of reflecting on and writing up all that has happened within and around the programme. We would also hope the publications themselves will stimulate further discussions and the creation of new contacts and ideas. We therefore still intend to work towards an IKM 2, but hope and believe that it will be possible to have a richer collective discussion as to what this might involve once the current work has been completed.

Practice Based Change Workshop

The Workshop Report written by Hannah Beardon is now available. Background documents, including a paper , 'Emergent struggles: Local activism and the 'Equal and Fair Wage' campaigns in the Janakpur area, Nepal' by Michael Drinkwater and Diana Wu can be found in Workspace 9


'Knowledge Platforms'

Dutch development policy is being re-shaped in response to a report, 'Less Pretension, More Ambition'  by WRR, the Scientific Council for Government Policy, which was published in English in 2010.  The report and the response calls for greater geographic and thematic focus and for a far more knowledge-based approach for which, at least in the report, the importance of detailed local knowledge over time is emphasised.  In late 2011 a 'knowledge letter' was presented to the Dutch parliament outlining the steps being taken in relation to knowledge and to research in response to the report.  As far as we know IKM is the only programme looking at knowledge management within the development sector funded by the Dutch Foreign Ministry and the report and the response to it cover issues which have been at the heart of IKM's work over the last five years.  As such we feel well able to offer what we hope is a constructive response to the proposals.


Visual Notes

As part of our experimentation with different ways of presenting ideas, 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.  These might be easier to access. We apologise for the delay in posting these notes.

IKM Evaluation 2 The final (for the time being) evaluation summary of the programme is available here


IKM Evaluation

How do you evaluate knowledge-based work?  How do you evaluate non-linear and emergent processes?  These questions are central to the idea of development as a process of mutual learning and co-creation of knowledge amonst all stakeholders involved, whilst also being a process which should, for both political and  financial reasons, be accountable in the public domain.  They are also very relevant to IKM in the more practical sense of it being a funded programme with an obligation to be evaluated.  Chris Mowles of Red Kite Partners and Anita Gurumurthy of IT for Change have been accompanying us as evaluators throughout most of the programme's life.  The Fourth IKM Evaluation Report (2011) is their most in-depth report to date. It covers the period up to the end of the fourth year of the programme.  A final, summary report will offer a briefer and more up to date overview of progress up to the end of 2011.


ICT in Development

IKM has been increasingly critical of the impact of ICT use within the development sector. We argue that it has mainly been applied to make the organisations which were already 'information rich' even richer and that there has been very little investment in creating valuable local information spaces, which might enable and empower local decision making.  As changes linked to the emerging Web 3 gather force, we think new approaches are urgently needed. IKM Working Paper no 16, ‘ICT for or against development? An introduction to the ongoing case of Web 3.0’, written by Mike Powell, Tim Davies and Keisha Taylor is intended to explore these issues. It is still in final draft stage but a summary of its argument is available here.


Newsletter, September 2011

The most recent newsletter, covering forthcoming events and current work, can be found here. (Wed, 14 September 2011)

Workshop on Practice-based Change planned for 29-20 November 2011 London, UK

IKM is in the process of organising a workshop on Practice-Based Change, with CARE International, which will include reflection on the practical implications of the multiple strands of IKM’s work to date for development operations and their management, as well as inviting ideas from other sources. To find out more about the workshop, please see the announcement here. (Mon 12 September 2011)

Two new papers on monitoring and evaluation of knowledge

Two new papers on monitoring and evaluation of knowledge management for development were published in August 2011. The first IKM Working Paper No 12 Monitoring and evaluating development as a knowledge industry: ideas in current practice has been written by Simon Hearn, Ewen Leborgne and Valerie A. Brown. It offers an overview of the field of monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of KM4D and where it might be heading. It has summaries in ‎English, French and Spanish. The second IKM Working Paper No 13 Monitoring and evaluating development as a knowledge ecology: ideas for new collective practices by Ewen Leborgne, Simon Hearn and Valerie A. Brown proposes a collective enquiry approach as a possible way forward. Summaries in ‎English, French and Spanish (Mon 12 September 2011)


Exploring the relationship between knowledges, development and management

On 6 May 2011, Mike Powell made a presentation to the Knowledge Management Impact Challenge (KMIC) unconference in Washington DC. The presentation is available here. The IKM Emeregnet entry to the KMIC, Evaluation of the IKM Emergent Research Programme: taking a complexity perspective to evaluation was rated as one of the top finalists in the competition by a team of external experts. (Mon, 9 May 2011)

IKM Update

The March 2011 IKM Update is now available. (Wed, 2 March 2011)

IKM Leaflet

The new version of the ‎IKM leaflet, produced in December 2010. It provides an overview of the programme's core arguments and activities.

As well as its various research outputs, the programme is discussing with practitioners the implications of its work for innovation in daily programme management. It is trying to do this through posing a series of challenging questions which were posed for the first time in this leaflet. These challenging questions include:
• How do you communicate with the local communities you aim to support? What work is done in the relevant (local) languages? How can such work be supported?
• How do local knowledges influence your work at local level? How do you support and value their role in underpinning capacity for locally led development?
• Can your procedures for planning, process management, monitoring and evaluation recognise and adapt to unpredictability and emergence?
• What alternatives exist to assessment based on compliance with pre-existing plans? If flexibility is to be welcomed, how can accountability to both donors and affected communities be assured?
• What information do you make available about your programme work? How do you try to make it accessible and useful to other development practitioners? (Wed, 26 Jan 2011)

Linked Open Information for Development - 2

The Draft Report from the workshop is now available. It is planned to produce two forward looking working papers based on this material - one about the implications for the development information environment, the other reflecting on the processes involved in creating and using such information - in early 2011 (Mon, 13 December 2010)

Linked Open Information for Development

On 15th and 16th November,IKM organised a workshop to discuss both the positive and negative potential of the widespread adoption of linked, open information within the development sector. Discussion continued at the Open Government Data Camp in London later in the week. A full report of the workshop will be published soon and followed by working papers considering both technical and development policy aspects of the subject. In the meantime, this IKM Discussion Note is intended to provide a brief explanation of what linked open information is and why it might matter. (Wed, 24 November 2010)


New on other websites

Our reflections on the content of the Programme

These reflections are derived from a blog being run by a core of members from Working Group 3, plus a number of colleagues from the broader field of knowledge management for development.

The giraffe


Positive deviants and failure. Part 1
Somewhere in your community or organisation, groups of people already doing things differently and better. To create lasting change, find these areas of postive deviants and fan their flames. At the moment, there’s a couple of interesting discussions going on on (my favourite community) KM4Dev, and I think they’re related. They both started on 19 […]
(Thu, 20 Sep 2012 13:41:25 +0100)
Linking knowledge domains
I’ve created a new blog on Linking knowledge domains: knowledge integration across boundarieswhich aims to act as an access point for work on cross-domain knowledge integration which I’ve been doing for IKM Emergent over the past few years in collaboration with Josine Stremmelaar of Hivos and Wenny Ho. In particular, it will link to the […]
(Thu, 08 Mar 2012 16:19:08 +0000)
Journal update 1: KM4D and innovation systems
The May issue of the Knowledge Management for Development Journal was on the subject of Beyond the conventional boundaries of knowledge management: navigating the emergent pathways of learning and innovation for international development with Guest Editors, Laurens Klerkx, Laxmi Prasad Pant and Cees Leeuwis. It comprises 6 articles and one community note: Content Unfolding the challenges […]
(Mon, 05 Mar 2012 10:17:26 +0000)
Adaptive pluralism and intentions?
In a recent meeting on Practice-based change for development, which took place in London, UK, on 20-21 February 2012, and blogged about earlier here by Ewen le Borgne, we discussed Robert Chambers’ work on Paradigms, poverty and adaptive pluralism. Chambers compares the dominant paradigm of neo-Newtonian practice in international development, oriented to things and ?imposed […]
(Mon, 27 Feb 2012 10:43:35 +0000)
From the editor?s desk
On 22 September 2011, I took part in a panel ”From the Editor’s desk”, convened by Wendy Harcourt and Kees Biekart at the EADI/DSA General Conference in York, UK. The session was conducted as an open discussion among 6 journal editors on the new publishing arrangements with the coming of the digital age among development […]
(Sun, 26 Feb 2012 23:13:17 +0000)


Our reflections on the process

These reflections are derived from a blog being used by IKM Emergent to document the process of undertaking an iterative programme


Other related resources

A new blog which follows IKM Emergent's work with others on cross-domain knowledge integration:


Other blogs are being run by members of IKM Emergent to support initiatives on digital story telling and local content. They include:



our project


This week Kemly will be going to the last global meeting of the IKM Emergent Project, to share results with other members of the global team. We wish her the best. We are looking forward to have lots of useful information about other experiences around the world.
(Sun, 11 Apr 2010 23:54:49 +0100)
This project has meant to me?
By Adriana Sánchez* What do we mean when talking about local knowledge? Why is it important? Why is it different from expert knowledge? Can we use ICTs to rescue, revalue and position the local knowledge? How a process like this can empower a community? We had all this questions at the beginning and probably our […]
(Mon, 05 Apr 2010 23:10:32 +0100)