The internet fundamentally changes how we learn. Instead of digging into physical library books, nowadays we’re more likely to “google it” first.
To google for answers, though, we first need to know our questions. We have to type in the right search words to get the information that we seek. But what do we do when we don't even know what questions to ask - for example when we’re exploring a new and unfamiliar subject?
We’re challenging ourselves to make it easier for our ICRISAT partners and stakeholders to carry out these kinds of open-ended explorations of our enormous knowledge base in a more efficient, effective way. We take into account that different learners have different interests and different starting levels of knowledge.
Towards this end, I’m excited to announce a new information product that we call EXPLOREit@ICRISAT. EXPLOREit (for short) is a web-based system that automatically assembles and updates packages of information about our main subject areas. We’ve initially defined 35 subjects across the spectrum of crops, topics, geographic locations, systems and knowledge/data stores that we work on.
EXPLOREit weaves together our current knowledge on each of these subjects from across our websites, databases and the internet, making it easily accessible from a single-page starting point. There, the knowledge is sub-organized by tabs so that learners can focus on their areas of interest. For example, for each of our five focus crops the tabs offer the learner an overview, knowledge of the crop’s botany, facts and figures about the crop, releases of improved varieties, past and current major projects on that crop, publications, databases, and public awareness stories.
In late June it was my great honor to receive the Dr. M.S. Swaminathan Award for Leadership in Agriculture for 2013 from the Trust for Advancement of Agricultural Sciences. In my vote-of-thanks speech I talked about a leader’s responsibility to guide an institution towards a unified vision and strategy. We developed such a vision and strategy at ICRISAT that has anchored our work since Jan. 1, 2011. We call it IMOD, which stands for Inclusive Market-Oriented Development.
I’ve discussed a number of IMOD’s most important features here in the past. In this post, I’d like to highlight how IMOD contributes to emerging CGIAR deliberations about “Theories of Change”.
Limited by logframes?
A recent CGIAR-commissioned analysis by S.J. Batchelor and R.L. Goodman on ‘Theories of Change and Impact Pathways’ (September 2012) points out the dominance in recent times of a planning model called the Logical Framework, often referred to simply the ‘Logframe’. As the authors put it,