Monday, 8 November 2010

Evaluation of ComPart kicks off

Even if the name ComPart - Communication with and amongst Partners - came in only at a later stage, at ICCO we have been busy with this project since 2007.

The main idea behind this project was that it would contribute to ICCO Alliance capacity building, learning networks, and knowledge in two main ways: first, by supporting the information, knowledge and communication capacities of partner organisations in the south; second, by supporting these same activities within the current alliance members.

During the implementation of the project ICCO was undergoing a profound organizational transition process. One of the major elements of this process is the decentralisation, which means that much of the daily work is being transferred to Southern based regional offices, with the transition of ICCO from a Dutch-based and located organisation to an international decentralised network organisation. This meant that new (internal and external) communication issues arose. Already in its early stage it was foreseen that ComPart could play a role in helping to address these communication issues.

The ComPart project has been designed and implemented with the strong support from Euforic, a cooperative of European Development organizations mainly supporting their members with relevant information and the use of information management tools. This cooperative closed down in the end of 2009 and fortunately part of the involved staff could continue the support to the ComPart project by way of the newly created consultancy firm Euforic Services.

During the 4 years of the projects, as documented here in this blog and in the ComPart timeline, numerous achievements have been reached, and different challenges emerged as well. More in general, a great deal of learning has been done as far as introducing and applying social media and collaborative tools in an changing organisational context is concerned. It seems now a good moment to look back at what has been done so far, reflect on the project sore assumptions and implementation patterns and learn from our achievements and, more important, form our mistakes. Therefore, since a couple of week, the ComPart project is undergoing its evaluation phase.

The purpose of this evaluation is twofold. In the first place to get an appreciation of the ComPart approach itself, the way it has been introduced and the results of the project until now. In the second place it is expected to get practical recommendations on how to further improve and implement the “ComPart way of working” within ICCO, the ICCO Alliance and among their partners. This implies that it is expected to get an overall validation of the project towards its objectives and based on this to get recommendations on how to better use and introduce internet based tools for an open, collaborative and learning culture within the decentralized organization/alliance and also possible (technical) improvements on the tool-set itself.

Nancy White and Marc Coenders are leading this evaluation, and we're glad we can count on their knowledge and expertise to help us learning and reflecting on ComPart.

The methodolgy follwed for the evaluation comprises the review of the documentation, plans and the ComPart tool-set; the preparation of a learning history for this project; a web survey; individual and collective interviews with champions and active users, new users, users who aren't very active, non users, the ComPart admin team and ICCO management; a 'findings validation' workshop with users, the admin team and others involved to share findings and gather feedback.

Most of the above is already happening these days and the evaluators are busy reviewing the documentation available, as well as interviewing people in ICCO Global Office in Utrecht and in the Regional Offices. The validation workshop will be held in Utrecht on 9 December 2010.

As usual, we'll use this blog to document on the progress of the evaluation and report on its finding and the validation workshop.

No comments: