I found Nick Byrne's preso very exciting - as did Kate Stewart (see her excellent post). My notes from his preso follow, along with some my exposure to the EWB Challenge at the University of Wollongong.
Having long been associated with engineers, I was well aware that all too often Engineers are seen by many as the problem, rather than a source of solutions to problems.
So shortly before I retired as an elected Local Government Councillor in 2004, and following the 2004 Johannesburg Earth Summit, I had gain my Council's support to consider supporting the 1st Year Engineering Creative Design project ie "Council consider supporting the Creative Design Competition Project for First Year Engineering students at Wollongong University – with an award encouraging ESD principles – i.e. Award for Most Innovative Sustainable Design." (page 48 of Council minutes).
Sadly Wollongong Council did not seem to have followed through on this. Although 1st Year Engineering students in Wollongong University have picked up the innovation & sustainability challenge later on, without the support of their local City Council.
However, at the 2008 & 2009 Wollongong University's annual 1st Year Engineering Creative Design Project, where I was on the Judging Panels, I found that some students had embraced the annual EWB Challenge centred around Tonle Sap, Cambodia. In both 2008 & 2009 at least one of the final teams had selected a project which they also planned to enter in EWB Cambodia Tonle Sap Challenge. In 2008 the team who designed & built a bicycle powered washing machine made the UOW finals. In 2009 a UOW Finals Team featured in the Top 20 projects with their Floating Agricultural Station. So I was really looking forward to hearing how EWB were using KM in their aid work.
Now back to my notes on Nick Byrne's preso : Knowledge Management for CollaborativeInnovation in Development Engineering – Engineers without Borders
Intro to what EWB do – Engineers without Borders : note - Disaster Response handled by REDR vs Long Term Solutions done by EWB. (For more on REDR see bottom of blog post)
They are moving towards Knowledge Management based around Hubs incl Renewable Energy - Indigenous Australia Hub
Key approach : SMELS – Strategy Measurement Evaluation Learning Sharing
Learning & Sharing vital : link with & support external organizations
Key approach : Collaborate Innovate Celebrate
IP – Creative Commons
Different professional disciplines have different ethos wrt knowledge sharing – science vs engineers vs lawyers
Exercise : Dan Pink : Why How What approach to what you are trying to achieve
· Why? - are the underlying motives ? Is there a bigger theme that your organization is contributing to ? EWB seeking to facilitate pro bono culture Australia
· How ? is your organization contributing to the pursuit within your industry/sector/cause ?
· What ? outcomes have you seen ?Are there unanticipated spin-off effects for your clients ?
· Cognitive surplus – how to leverage – ie how much structure or not ? crowdsourcing
· your goal isn’t to do business with people who want what you have – but to do business people who believe what you believe and what you do simply serves as proof of what you believe
· What prevents collaboration within your org – (responses : protecting your turf, lone wolf syndrome IP issues – Chinese Walls – fear of competition)
· Discuss what incentives exist to collaborate inter-organizationally – requires a level of maturity of org leadership – cross company networks
Social innovation – potential to influence in government
Note - Comments from conference attendees Professional Associations do knowledge sharing eg at conferences
Nick mentioned that Humanitarian Engineering is starting to appear on the engineering curriculum of some Australian Universities. My perception as a former External Advisory Committee Member to UOW's Engineering Faculty is that this is no mean feat as the engineering curriculum is generally quite solidly packed at any university - so it is hard to get anything else added in.
He described how EWB is Working with University Students : eg Engineers and Social Justice Program – 2nd Year at UWA.
Tweets on Nick's preso :
Nick Byrne Engineers without Borders EWB at#actkm10 on leveraging KM to achieve more
Collaborate innovate celebrate #actkm10
Engineers Without Borders understands the strategic importance that efficient knowledge management brings to organisations. However, we are fortunate that, at least internally, the organisational cultural barriers that exist elsewhere are not prevalent. For example, the protectionist attitudes that some consultants place around their knowledge, as they feel it is their competitive advantage in the workplace.
To date, Knowledge Management literature seems to have focused on comparative advantage for organisational gain – but what about utilising knowledge management as a tool for inter-organisational collaboration around important issues such as peak oil and the millennium development goals? In this presentation, we hope to present to you some fundamental questions around data, information, knowledge and wisdom in the context of EWB and the Knowledge Centre. Also, how EWB is participating, through its knowledge management processes, in expanding their sectors knowledge of best practice.