Knowledge Management: share your experience at the Academy

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We shall not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.

T.S Eliot

It’s hard to say “I manage knowledge” when prompted with the question “What do you do?”.  All the same, for all of us, knowledge is our business, this is what we do. And managing knowledge is part of the practice of every individual, team, network and organisation.

The ILO’s strategic vision attaches great importance to enhancing the Organization’s knowledge base and strengthening its role as a knowledge leader facing the transformative changes in the world of work. Becoming a global centre of excellence in labour statistics, research, knowledge management and policy development also means working collaboratively with others in ways which strengthen knowledge management as a means to achieving this transformative change.

In building a knowledge-centric environment we aim to create a regular rendezvous, which we are calling an academy, for practitioners interested in better creating, applying, sharing and managing knowledge at their workplace. This is our starting point.

This autumn, the International Training Centre in Turin and the International Labour Office will run their first ever Knowledge Management Academy (“the Academy”), developed in collaboration with world leading experts.

We’d like this post to cultivate your curiosity, pique your interest in this event, convince you to join us and invite others along too. Perhaps you’ve already committed to participate, or would like to learn more before deciding if this is the right programme to join or tell others about.

Knowledge management is a very broad subject, and there are lots of ways to view it.

As it is not one swallow or a fine day that makes a spring” we count on your participation to turn what we hope to be an excellent curriculum into a regular must for knowledge workers.

So, whether you’re interested in surfacing and sharing knowledge, building networks, exploring narratives and storytelling, or defining the enabling environment for Knowledge Management, the Knowledge Management Academy 2018 is the place to be this coming October.

Most of the diagnostics run in the field and headquarters showed that – while we are making progress in coding explicit knowledge – tacit knowledge, knowledge in networks, and the relevant skills for application remain a big unknown in our work routines.

You’ll find a brief tour of the topics on ITCILO Online Catalogue

Photo credits: jannoon028 / Freepik 

Competency-based approach: blending performance with learning innovation

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Competency-based Training of Trainers is a strategy that aims at recognizing and certifying pedagogical competences, being innovation the main transversal competence.

In the last decades, the competency-based approach spread worldwide with the purpose of being the conjunction between the educational offer and the labour demand. There are several systems – related to their cultural and economic environment – and they all have their comprehensive set of practices and tools for competences’ recognition and certification as well as for learning design and implementation. The common denominator is the collection of evidence that can prove the capacity of the practitioners of performing according to quality standards in different contexts.

A competence is a fusion of values, psychomotor skills and knowledge that leads to valuable and effective performance in different environments.

When designing education and training for competency acquisition and certification, the performance is disaggregated into a series of competence units, which are again decomposed into competence elements, being each of them made by values, skills and knowledge and related to a specific evidence or assessable proof or product.

ITCILO supporting trainers in a continuously changing workplace

Several Programmes have been designed and implemented in a competency-based manner at the Centre. Among those, there is the Competency Based ToT, which has the vision of blending the competency-based approach with learning innovation. More info here.

Competency Based ToT  supports trainers in the development of up- to-date pedagogical competences, with a special focus on creativity.   In fact, the demand for ability to generate (good) ideas and readiness to be flexible and adaptable is not a trend or a future forecast but is already happening. People are daily requested to be innovative, creative and ready for continuous learning and change.

But is training designed to support them? Are trainers able to support human resources to develop their capacity of being innovators?

Most people consider themselves as not creative. However, we can all be, if immersed in a culture of creativity and training is there to create this environment, open and conducive for innovation.

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Trainers are the first ones who are pushed to learn how to be innovative in order to create inspiring environments. Learning technologies and methodologies, learning innovation in general, can do so much, for trainers first and then of course for their trainees.  A Competency-based ToT strategy has the rigorousness and the flexibility to help trainers to move forward and acquire those competences there are needed in a continuously changing world.

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No matter what is the content ones trains on, trainers need to be ready to help their participants to become able to face unpredictable changes and a competency-based ToT can be seen as the channel toward such a capacity.

Photo Credits: Jacopo Maino/

Graphic Design in Development

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A case for sustainability, universality and true human needs.

Design for world peace

Back in 1945, a Yale architecture graduate called Donald McLaughin designed one of the world’s most recognizable symbols: the United Nations emblem. But at that time he wasn’t fully aware of the impact his design would have. When the delegates from 50 Allied nations gathered that spring in San Francisco, the conference required brochures, placards and, of course, badges. Mr. Mc Laughlin, then chief of the graphics presentation branch of the Office of Strategic Services, forerunner of the C.I.A., originally designed a 2.7 cm round lapel pin. The emblem of the continents and olive branches was also stamped in gold on the United Nations Charter, and a year and half later it was adopted, with modifications, as the official seal and emblem of the United Nations.

To this day, few symbols are so widely recognised and universally understood as the UN emblem. It’s a demonstration of the power of graphic design in its ability to unite people through graphic images and rendering complex ideas into one visual symbol. Over the last several years we’ve seen the most influential development agencies fully embracing the role of graphic design including The World Bank, Unicef and many others.

Design must be meaningful

There is a strong cultural dimension to graphic design that is affected by traditions, language, diversity, gender, beliefs and value systems. Graphic designers within UN agencies carry the responsibility to embody these dimensions in their designs. Experience turned them into experts designing in all six official 400+ national languages, but also in integrating complex ideas such as impartiality, dignity and tolerance. They have the duty and power to represent the underrepresented and to promote inclusiveness through their ideas.

Making it look pretty is not enough. Design must be meaningful where ‘meaningful’ replaces rather void concepts such as ‘beautiful, ‘ugly’, ‘cool’, ‘cute’, or ‘nice’. Designers need to put end-users’ needs ahead of their own taste and love of aesthetics. Or as Victor Papanek put it back in 1971’: “design must become an innovative, highly creative, cross- disciplinary tool responsive to the true needs of men.”

Design is inherent to all cultures and the next generation of graphic designers needs to be aware of their ability to emphasise on deeper cultural meanings. Design can impact the world and therefore designers should cultivate their capacity in strengthening mutual understanding amongst people and nations.

From ITCILO's Future of Learning Magazine

From ITCILO’s Future of Learning Magazine

In-house capacity and training

The ILO Turin Centre has its own inhouse graphic design unit. Multimedia Design and Production (MDP) provides
graphic design solutions for courses, training materials, conferences and publications. For many years MDP has also designed the publications of other UN agencies including UNHCR, OHCHR and the World Bank.

This year for the first time, the Center will organize a course on how to design communication solutions for development purposes. As a discipline, Communication for Development embraces a broad range of functions and practices which centre around dialogue, participation and the sharing of knowledge and information, all with a view to creating empowerment and sustainable social change. From a human centred approach, this on-site training course will explore the possibilities of contemporary and traditional communication tools in addressing development
challenges and maximizing the impact of initiatives.

The Communication for Development (C4D) Course will be organised in Turin, from 5 to 8 June 2018. All information and applications on the course’s web page.