Archive for June, 2008

we came from allover the world

80+ participants from all over the world gathered in Almada’s open space on knowledge management for development. Their faces and other gathering pictures were geotagged on a Flickr map here

Currently the Flickr map doesn’t support showing ALL photos in one go, so to have a good idea from where we all came from, use the left and right arrows on the photos banner below the map. You may also wish to zoom in or out, enjoy!


Open space is great in a way that it provides space for people to discuss whatever that matters them most. There was session to discuss the challenges faced by organization to share their knowledge and experiences and problems of convincing their senior management about relevance of knowledge sharing. Nancy came out with some questions that we should be asking for exploring solutions for mitigating these challenges, viz; What is strategic purpose of sharing experiences, what are incentives for sharing, how do you know that you were successful in sharing and what are source of resistance?? The critical assessment of these questions will definitely help us to find some answers to deal with not being able to convince people. However, we need to critically assess, have we just said that knowledge sharing helps to increase efficiency of their job or we have critically analyzed what it really meant and how it will improve their work in next month or 6 months. Therefore, bringing more specificity and short time benefits with concrete examples are helpful for motivating people to share. I realized that it is not only me, there are several other people who are finding hard to motivate large number of people to share their valuable experiences, so do not feel alone, there are group of people even in KM4Dev community who is struggling and learning, so do not feel left out so ride adventurous but lovely journey of Knowledge Sharing.

Open Space was adopted for gearing up the discussion in the group. Hall was full of crowds who were eager to share their experiences of knowledge sharing and management. There was open space facilitated by Marc. The interesting part was the demo on principles of Open Space where Riff, Lucie, Allison and Peter just portrayed what these open space really means. They were also showing how to write cards and post them in market place. It was great to see their funny faces doing demo on open space principles, it is one of the thing that captivated me!!

There were several discussions going here and there as per the agenda pasted in the market wall. The beauty of open space is that there are agenda to discuss matter that participants cared most. There was feeling of freedom as people were free to move where ever they want. They can join any group at any moment using the freedom of two feets being bumble bees and butterflies. We can see lots of bees and butterflies in the open space sessions.

My session was focused on technical upgradations for KM4Dev community. Lucie was an idea initiator for the group. There were more people than expected so had to pull lots of chairs from here and there. There were lots of people with technical background suggesting her what should be her next steps to move forward with the community.

It is just one session at this moment and people are ready for the lunch which will be served upstairs in the canteen. People are busy doing small discussions as they are done with the first session but still have something to catch up for further details. The facilitation of the open space went extremely well as there were lots of people gathering here and there discussing and sharing their experiences. Hurray Open Space Facilitators, you were all GREAT!!!

On 19 and 20 June we butterfly, glue on and bumblebee in 10 breakout spaces from one to the next session. Documentation of sessions can be found here:

An opening of KM4Dev 2008 at HI – Lisbon – Pousada de Juventude de Almada Hostel happened with lots of enthusiasm of participating members of the community. The venue is full of natural air and very far from pollution. The nice view of sea and city of Lisbon from the hall was giving more vibrancy to the workshop. Smiles in the faces and slight hesitance to mix with each other were there among some new members. On contrary, old buddies of the community were hugging each other and sharing their affection.

There was a nice picture of sea and waves in the wall of the hall. The picture looked very beautiful but was looking as if it is an empty sea without lots of happenings. However, the collage was used by Lucie for describing the history of KM4Dev. She shared how it the community emerged earlier with the effort of Bellanet. There were several events that had happened in several parts that supported in community building process. That has helped in creating a stage where the community members own the process and organize these events to bring members together for creating a shared vision. The collage was then decorated by Nancy, Allison and others for indicating all these milestones in the form of boats and fishes as the members of the network. Slowly, the full vibrant sea was the outcome of the history briefing. There was also spectrogram session that showed that there is diverse group of people present in the community with diverse perspectives.

Social Network Mapping Session showed that there are large number of sister organizations working for promoting knowledge sharing. It was found that there were more and more such communities, organizations and networks working in the area of Knowledge sharing and Knowledge Management. The session facilitator shared that she was expecting to have less number of these entities but to her surprise there were more such communities and organizations. The participants were requested to position them individually and explore link with other individuals. It was found that in the table there were some links that were already present. In some cases, participants also explored the potentialities of working together. We should admit that there were bits of confusion in the group regarding the linkage and grading. But, overall impression of the session was found to be impressive. It was felt that this mapping can be consolidated to develop a single map of KM4Dev Community.

There are always things to be improved especially when there is group of facilitators, there are several suggestions for improvements. On the other hand, if something does not go as we expect, the facilitators also know that we always do not get what we desires. It seemed that it can be a good experimentation ground for experimenting new facilitation techniques.

The market place this morning was amazing, people immediately came forward proposing their subjects in just one line. We had at least 40 people presenting their topic in 30 seconds, and they all fitted quite nicely in the grid of spaces and timeslots on the “market wall”. Right now I am in a session on how knowledge sharing strategies in large organizations. Interesting to hear other peoples’ succesfull strategies.

Waving from the workshop in Almada. This is where you will find some rough reports of Open Space sessions.

This is where you will find some photos of the different events.

Are you with us in Almada, and do you want to blog, to let the world know about our Gathering? Are you not in Almada and do you want to let others know you are following what is going on?

Be a contributor to the blog!

If you leave your email in the comments we can send you an invite and you will be able to write posts. It helps if you register at and upload a photo.

Social Program

This information is very important before you decide which meals to eat at the venue.

On the 18th, maybe around sunset, a group will walk to the statue of Cristo Rei nearby to gaze at the views.
On the 19th after dinner, Paula da Costa, who was one of the persons putting carnation flowers in gun barrels during the 1974 peaceful revolution, will give a short talk to give us a sense of history of Portugal.
On the 20th, we will have a contribution of this band (with our community member Bill Williams). Bring your musical instruments! (and other music, for that matter)

[Of all EU kids, the portuguese get to eat most veggies. In the soups]

Portuguese food

Lunch is serious business in Portugal. A time to break the day, eat a good meal, preferably consisting of soup, main and desert, maybe a glass of wine, and a strong coffee afterwards to conclude. It is definitely not something to be taken lightly, and if you do, it is implied that you will not make it till the end of the day, fall ill, “get stressed out”, or otherwise suffer from modern ailments.

Dinner is the less important meal of the day, (but also very important.) The Pousada arrangements are similar at both meals: such that you take a tray, pass a counter, take those items from the pre-set menu that you want, and sit down on long tables. Afterwards you clear your tray. The capacity is around 80 places, so a bit stretched with our 90 people: I hope with the verandas and spilling over in the café it will not be a problem.

Both lunch and dinner will have hot and cold dishes and bread to go with it. We have signalled the Pousada of the most common dietary requriements you have informed us of, which they would take into account. However, there will be no personalized meals: you should select foods you can eat.

For some more mouth watering information on Portuguese foods look here: a food blogger’s trip to Lisbon.

Check-in and registration

We have about 90 participants, and mainly Riff and myself to help you to get settled in and collect your fees, so I thought i’ld share with you what i know, it may help to let things go smoothly.

  • Upon first arrival, if you do not see Riff or me, you could ask the hostel staff to show them your room/bed. Please note that rooms have only 1 key. Since we are sharing rooms, it is important to always leave your key at reception, when not in the room, even when you are inside the building.
  • To get meal tickets and to pay for your stay, please contact Riff or me soon after your first arrival in the Pousada. You will be asked to pay in cash.
  • You will have to decide at that moment, which dinners you want to eat in the Pousada (for lunch, we are assuming all of us will be there).
  • In case you have informed us that you are staying on after the 21st of June, we have made reservations for you, but you need to confirm to hostel staff and pay separately, directly to the hostel, for nights and meals after June 21st.)

For those of you who have some to prepare for Lisbon and Portugal I am referring to blogposts by others (a Lisbon blogger, not related to KM4dev)
A small guide to Lisbon by André Ribeirinho. This is literally that: a small guide to Lisbon.