For the last two years ICCO staff have been working with the ComPart team to explore how best we can support collaboration and knowledge sharing across the Alliance using modern online tools. Browsing through the over 100 wikis, regular blog posts and collections of conferences and workshops material from events across the globe, it's clear that we are in a new, more advanced, phase.
A key indicator of this, of course, is that the ICCO Alliance Business Plan is being developed in a wiki, which means easier management of documents and comments than is possible in the traditional approach that has large numbers of documents flying around the organisation by email, risking confusion over which is a current version and increasing the email flood. At the same time several teams have developed workspaces to support their everyday work, with rich and varied content, using a number of tools.
Just do it!
To share the work that is being done across ICCO, ComPart organised a lunchtime 'show and tell' on Tuesday 23 February 2010. It was a well attended meeting, with staff from all areas of the organisation. The central activity was a chat show - a presentation from three teams of how the the ComPart approach is supporting their work. As you can see from the recording below, the teams are gathering a wide range of material and using several tools. Possibly more important is their enthusiasm for their work. All of the presenters echoed Mariken Gaanderse when she said, "For me the best advice (to my colleagues) would be just to start using (ComPart), because only then you'll find out what it provides you."
However, in spite of the progress and enthusiasm, many challenges still remain: not all staff are at ease with technological changes and the learning curve seems to be a bit steep for some. Moreover, some desktop or web based applications are not easily available for staff inside the ICCO building, limiting for example the use of Skype, the synchronization between Outlook and Google calendar, or the availability of AT&T Connect. Lastly, the enormous pressures on the Regional Offices during their set-up phase means many haven't yet been able to explore in any depth the ComPart approach and toolkit. ComPart is especially relevant in the new decentralised ICCO. So it is good to hear that regions such as Central Asia, which are more established, are now keen to engage with the programme, as Pepijn Trapman confirmed on his recent visit to Utrecht.
The debate and lively discussion offered us as ComPart Admin Team a great deal of insight in terms of expectations, challenges and issues that ICCO Alliance staff are facing as far as information, communication and knowledge sharing are concerned, and how ComPart can further support their work. The recommendations and issues raised are being integrated into our plans for 2010, and will be reflected in the way we support ICCO Alliance staff and partners.