Regionally contextualized and integrated engagement, dialoguing, knowledge sharing and communication
Part 1: Where we come from and a ‘new’ way of working
There is a lovely word, “paseo”, which means “a path set aside for walking”. It’s a very uncommon word, so when people ask about it you can say, “The Paseo is our engagement, knowledge management and communications facilitator”. Its main attraction is that it’s a completely new word, and as such comes with no baggage. See also box 1.
The term ‘paseo’ encompasses a whole spectrum of responsibilities, roles and tasks that need to be integrated into our research projects, programs, themes, flagships, and overall on-going work. This is not a one-person job but a real team effort. Thus, the ‘paseo approach’ refers to the paseo role within each member of a project or regional program. This approach can be facilitated and supported by the Paseo, i.e. a specific, designated member of the team who is responsible for identifying and accompanying paseo competencies and skills.
In our R4D approach the key to achieving change and impact is engagement with the partners, stakeholders, and policymakers that projects aim to influence. This is not something that a single person can achieve. This is an activity in which all members of a project or program must be involved.
It complements and forms a bridge with corporate communications, which is already well embedded in the Centers and the CGIAR Research Programs. (See below for a short excursion on what we understand as corporate communications.) The building of a paseo is not an initiative in competition with corporate communications. Research communication has conventionally been seen as a by-product and by-process of research efforts. Research results are produced and disseminated. A poster might be made, a manual, a policy brief, or a glossy brochure for donors. Just as research methods and approaches have to change in the new research for development paradigm so does communications’ role in the process. The roles and responsibilities encompassed in a paseo approach are in most cases spread across a whole team, as it is more than a one-person job and goes beyond the production of materials by focusing heavily on engagement, partnerships, and social networks.