The Learning to Innovate (L2i) Topic Working Group was launched in January 2011 by the CPWF. We are a community of people who work in research-for-development projects to design and implement knowledge management (KM) processes that help make research more relevant to would-be users. The processes we work with include monitoring, evaluation, communications, knowledge sharing and information management. We believe that getting better at doing research-for-development depends on innovation in KM processes, for example, developing monitoring systems that support adaptive management rather than hinder it, or developing incentive structures that reward striving towards developmental outcomes as much as doing good research.
We are a new group that is setting out to support each other in co-developing KM processes, sharing lessons learned and building each others capacity by freely asking for, and giving, advice and assistance. To do this in an interactive way we set up a Learning to Innovate Google website as our virtual hub that supports Knowledge Management in the CPWF by providing:
- A helpdesk to answer very practical questions about the implementation of CPWF KM practices such as monitoring, evaluation, communications, knowledge sharing and information management
- A group space for discussion and sharing of experience
- A central repository for ‘learning to innovate’ experience
L2i is lead by a Steering Committee made up of our six Basin Leaders and representatives from the the CPWF Management Team, Research Team, KM team and the CGIAR Institutional Learning and Change Initiative (ILAC).
The CPWF Innovation Fund
The L2i Topic Working Group manages the CPWF Innovation Fund through the Steering Committee. The fund was established in 2011 to spur innovation and catalyze change in CPWF research for development projects by building capacity and supporting emerging and unanticipated opportunity. The Fund announced its first round awardees in August 2011. Eight projects of less than one year duration were awarded grants totaling more than US$ 165,000 in five of the six basins that CPWF works in: Ganges, Limpopo, Mekong, Nile and Volta.
The grants and the corresponding funds awarded for 2011 were:
- Mainstreaming gender in the CPWF: Benchmarking and addressing immediate needs
- Development of a web-based decision support system for agricultural water management of small reservoirs and small water infrastructure in the Limpopo basin
- Volta Storylines and Scenarios: A mouthpiece for interventions to enhance livelihoods
- The wheels of innovation: local challenge funds for rainwater management interventions
- Participatory video: a novel mechanism for sharing community perceptions with decision makers
- Building Provincial Capacity to Understand the Water Demand Implications of Socio-Economic Development Plans in Central Viet Nam
- Sharing Lessons on Hydropower Development Processes and Stakeholder Engagement between Cambodia and Lao PDR
- Implementing community level water management in coastal Bangladesh
Successful applicants agreed to report their findings to L2i via the central respository. A second round will be launched early in 2012.