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Examining Indicators Of Success and Change

Examining Indicators Of Success and Change

Examining Indicators Of Success and Change

The World Bank has monitored and evaluated the effectiveness of its KM processes almost from the start in 1996. Inputs, activities, outputs, and even outcomes have been measured. Measures include:

  • monitoring and tracking outputs and utilization of resources, database usage statistics, and the number of unique visitors to the intranet portal site;

  • the number of innovation grants and loans and the tracking of learning and tuition loans (each project is measured separately and has its own set of indicators); and

  • an annual KM survey to understand how KM is contributing to the success of the World Bank and its profitability.

The World Bank measures the inputs into KM, such as how much is being spent and the number of programs. It also measures the outputs, which involve the number of best practices, new tools, knowledge nuggets, resources added, or processes put in place. The third aspect of measurement is the utilization of knowledge products and services, such as the number of unique visitors to a Web site, the number of queries on an information and statistics system, or the number of requests for services from advisory services. The World Bank also conducts internal client surveys. Each of the sector boards surveys the community concerning the knowledge products that are most effective and how frequently they are used, as well as the respondent’s contribution in the last year.

The World Bank also uses an overall staff survey for the organization, which asks a range of questions, including some focused on KM. These questions focus on “the extent to which people feel they have access to knowledge to do their work” and “the extent to which global knowledge is perceived to be available to clients.” Additionally, a number of external surveys have been conducted within the Africa region by going to main counterparts in government project offices and asking about improvement in access to the World Bank’s knowledge and how well the World Bank adapts global knowledge to local conditions. People responded positively to the first but less so to the second, which indicates that the World Bank still has room to improve in knowledge adaptation.

The World Bank Institute has helped various units use surveys to identify best practices in measuring output and impact and ways in which to share that across the organization. The role of the World Bank Institute is to help provide the tools, but the work is done within the various units. There is an evaluation unit that traditionally performs project evaluations at the World Bank.

Success Stories

Story telling has long been a vehicle for conveying success in the World Bank, to the extent that is firmly embedded in its culture. The following is a success story from the artisan community that emphasizes collaboration and innovation.

The origin of this artisan community lays in a series of grassroots management- training workshops conducted in West Africa, India, and Peru since the 1990s. The focal point of the workshops was indigenous women entrepreneurs who often hold the key to a unique type of development: combining the pursuit of their economic potential and choosing a sustainable livelihood that offers numerous benefits to rural areas, including one often overlooked: preserving their cultural heritage. The program emphasized enhancing skills, according to the needs of participants, and greater community participation in local economic development. Over time, a community was formed, as workshop participants coalesced informally and as artisan enterprise was recognized increasingly as a vehicle with enormous potential to empower local communities.

According to the World Bank, the artisan community’s greatest accomplishment has been the links—those between North and South, between policy makers and grassroots activists, between crafts people and buyers/donors—that it has established and sustained. For example, the community serves as an ongoing forum that addresses critical challenges faced by artisans all over the world. These issues include raising investment, adapting products for the global market, resolving tax issues, business planning, utilizing new technologies, and finding a balance among economic development, cultural heritage, and environmental concerns.

The community has also been a springboard and laboratory for innovation. New project proposals have been developed based on specific artisan needs and the ideas that have emerged from the ongoing dialogue. For example, in January of 2002 the World Bank-sponsored development marketplace awarded a grant for a project to build creative communities in Mali, which is firmly rooted in the artisan community. The grant will help replicate, on a broader scale, the extremely inventive concept of using cultural artifacts (which are eventually displayed in a village museum) as collateral for supplying credit to local entrepreneurs.

The community also learned that learning is multidirectional; it involves knowledge sharing among different groups and disciplines. The focus is not simply on training or capacity building. Instead, the artisan community emphasizes the value of learning from members in developing countries. In fact, it has brought together artisans and field workers to the World Bank in order to instruct development professionals about the local impact of different development strategies. This type of rich learning environment is also evident in how innovative ideas from developing countries have provoked thought on how they can be applied or replicated in developed countries.

The artisan community has incorporated complementary activities and tools to encourage and stimulate dialogue, innovation, and learning. They include handmade development seminars, which are attended by crafts people, financial supporters, museum professionals, social scientists, and staff of nongovernmental organizations and federal government agencies. Attendees meet regularly to discuss innovation in culturally based enterprise development in rural villages.

The community also uses online discussions to foster communication and innovation. Electronic mailing lists have been an essential tool in keeping the groups in the community connected and promoting ongoing learning in face-to-face events. A network of women entrepreneurs in rural Peru has even set up a mailing list to discuss common issues.

Much of the artisan community’s success and innovative quality can be attributed to its ongoing partnerships. As part of the institute’s community empowerment and social inclusion learning program, it represents one aspect of the World Bank’s new emphasis on community-driven development and, therefore, has access to the networks, resources, and ideas of a larger programmatic framework. Just as importantly, the community works with artisan networks in developing countries, such as the Self-Employed Women’s Association in India; international craft organizations, such as the World Crafts Council; and organizations in the North, such as the Craft Organization Directors Association and the D.C.-based Crafts Center in the United States. It is currently organizing a program on “Building Creative Economies: The Arts, Entrepreneurship, and Sustainable Development,” in partnership with a coalition of agencies led by the U.S. National Endowment for the Arts, the Appalachian Regional Commission, and the Kenan Institutes for the Arts and Private Enterprise to explore promising practices in the use of local cultural resources for poverty reduction and economic development.

During the course of its development, the community has collected several lessons learned.

  • Learning and applying knowledge—The overall learning process within the community emphasizes practical knowledge that is valuable to most members on a daily basis.

  • Linking innovation to needs—Addressing a fundamental development problem often requires using an imaginative approach. The connection among rural development, community empowerment, and culture and the arts was not obvious to everyone in the development community, and has made the community even stronger.

  • Diversity is critical in community building—A rigorous understanding of the challenges faced by clients has been achieved through ongoing dialogue among members representing a broad and diverse range of disciplines and perspectives.

  • Community building is an ongoing process and challenge—Communities are difficult to establish and even harder to sustain. Time, resources, active members, coordination, and solid objectives are all crucial factors.

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