Feed the Future
This project is part of the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative.

Moving Communications and KM from a Supporting Function to a Strategic Function: Reflections from Peter Ballantyne & Michael Victor

Knowledge management (KM) is a tool and communications is a function of that tool...or is it communications is a tool and KM is a function of that tool? Or better yet, KM and communications are both a process, and when used side by side, transform information into useful knowledge. While the precise definitions may be debatable, we can safely say that KM and communications are necessary and complimentary components for reaching a strategic goal.

At the 2014 Feed the Future Global Learning and Evidence Exchange (GLEE) on Scaling Agricultural Technologies, held in Bangkok, Thailand, the Agrilinks team caught up with two leaders in the KM and communications fields and asked them to discuss the how they see their own roles fitting into the project lifecycle. Michael Victor is the Knowledge Management and Communications Coordinator at the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems and Peter Ballantyne is the Head of Knowledge Management at the Internatioanl Livestock Research Institute. They both attended the GLEE and had interesting viewpoints to share. Victor, for example, articulates what he sees as an important distinction between the strategic use of communications and KM and the operational use of communications and KM.

In addition, both Victor and Ballantyne emphasized that development projects, be it a nutrition project in Timor-Leste or a livelihoods development project with an emphasis in HIV/AIDS populations in Zimbabwe, all need knowledge capturers, knowledge synthesizers, and knowledge promoters. But the question is, what role do each play and at what point in the project do they get involved? Victor and Ballantyne answer these questions and more in this month’s KM Insight’s video.