In February 2018, 26 participants, representing organisations from Fiji, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu, started an experience capitalization process.
With a diverse group of organizations participating, from government level, to network organisations and actual farmers, this spirited group of people started their week of learning, sharing knowledge and connecting together.
Limiting factors were that at the beginning, the level of knowledge of the participants was somewhat hard to measure.
Participants mentioned that the gradual ‘onboarding’ of them on the principles of ExpCap, first individually, later in subgroups and finally in the larger group, worked particularly well to understand the full measurement of the method.
Having an offline focus
With nowadays 21st centuries’ difficulty of people stressing with the (over)usage of (mobile) devices, as much as possible, participants were encouraged to do their initial tables on flipchart papers rather than on the computer. This made presenting easier, and it also helped to get people to step away from their laptops and to refrain from cut-and-pasting content into tables. The idea was that people would use their flipcharts and digitalize and expand them back home.
Unlike many of the other workshops, a specific effort was made to encourage live feedback moments after every step. For the facilitators this helped to give an idea of where everyone was in the process, and for the participants this actively invited them to start becoming a community of practice.
Challenges along the way
The biggest challenge for most participants was the selection of an actual great case, that was not too big, not to future oriented, really specifying on the analysis. A certain level of focus and analytical thinking is required for this type of assignment, and perhaps within the environment of a private office or a library (e.g.), the participants could have more easily concentrated and have gotten even better understanding and the start of data then now was possible within a limited time span.
At the end of the week, the participants were asked to hand in 500 words of their ExpCap case. For a lot of participants this felt like a lot of time pressure, to hand in something that should be of ‘great quality’.
At the end of the day, the participants requested for more presentation time, to present their analyses to the (sub)groups. This was something that the participants enjoyed a lot, because they had the opportunity not only to test their case, but also to gain critical notes and suggestions from their colleague participants.
Talking about a previous ExpCap case from Ethiopia helped to really set an example to the participants on how to deconstruct a case, and how to step-by-step come into writing a great first draft.
Furthermore, to really make the participants switch from the learning and testing into the ‘action’ mode, we asked them to already ‘do’ something from their action plan on the spot; e.g. to already make a call to someone you want to speak with later to collect data, or to send a whatsapp or an e-mail to a colleague that you will need to speak with about how he or she can benefit from ExpCap. This small intervention worked really well.