Leveraging Knowledge at PCI

As part of APLIC’s 2015 Annual Conference, Janine Schooley shared how Project Concern International’s ‘Leveraging Knowledge’ and related strategic directions have utilized various approaches such as Chatter, InnovAtion, and regional workshops this past year to share promising practices and lessons learned both internally and externally for optimal efficiency, effectiveness, thought leadership, and performance.

Jean Sack provided her notes about the session:

Founded in 1969 by Dr. Turpin, Coronado Island Pediatrician who went into Mexico to save two children from pneumonia and began his outreach into Mexico, Vietnam War, Hong Kong (floating clinics) Walks for Mankind, and very targeted community interventions with program implementation.

Community-based integrated work for strengthening local people to solve their own problems. Funded US contracts, 60 years office in San Diego, DC office, now in 16 developing countries and US/Mexico border. Will have their PCI Global Summit in DC in early May.

She has worked 15 years and oversees food/nutrition, gender, innovation, local capacity strengthening, documentation, monitoring evaluation report to Janine. Masters in Child and Maternal Health. Janine found commonality with most all the APLIC members’ and their organizations, with many PCI collaborations.

“get our fieldstaff to document lessons learned!” How do we examine impact post-project when funding ceases? 7 Strategic Directors = by 2016 want to have more KM to connect remote locations with different aspects championed by “prime movers” and executive partners. Levering knowledge team and innovations went to a Dreamforce Conference to learn about Salesforce along with a Gender champion.

Chatter app (twitter / Facebook) comes with a database called Salesforce – for nonprofits (has dashboard to track users, groups, feeds, top users, largest groups, total group feed posts)

Sharing Tacit Knowledge (70%). Used internally so that staff are linked and feel connected/cohesive with trusted information – decentralized so all employees can contribute/share project insights regardless of location or title, open access, collaborative rather than top down. Janine can post, so also can a driver in India. Used during earthquake in Bihar who used Facebook to communicate “safe”. Recent example of India’s January announcement of polio-free was applauded by India PCI Director Ed Schol. Comes with a timed feed settings if you don’t want continuous. Email still used normally and not replaced by Chatter which will go to targeted staff in communications. Adoption = Value > Pain / worthwhile greater than pain. New groups act like CoPs. A monthly Chatter King is named from stats and gets symbol of power (gamification). Used to “take the pulse via polling” via chatter on smart phones. The phone works better in low bandwidth areas. Breaking down barriers to far corners. Success in increased awareness of programs and resources but there are IT Gold Standards but also openness to piggy backing to use Chatter more widely in organization. HR and Finance use Salesforce configurations with tinkering possibilities, new business and fundraising and innovAtion (A for adaption

@snapshots from the field testimonials or photos from the field feed into marketing and communications (85% of content)

Sharing Explicit Knowledge(30%). Can strategic information be better shared rather than just with donors? No Intranet, just email and chatter. Growth is from program funding, not in effective fund-raising. Janine says don’t assume anything but do capitalize on natural information hubs/people with a good communications strategy. They have hired a communications staff to link to more technical information on the website, not just marketing. Program quality alignment needs linking with insights from chatter.

Embedding InnovAtion = Makes current practice obsolete, improves value by 50%, provides PCI with unique product, skills, experiences benefitting beneficiaries and donors.   Need to incorporate the feedback loop from lessons learned from projects into the New Programs area to avoid reinventing wheels and to remain competitive. Putting documents on a shared drive. Physical resources library was dismantled because it wasn’t being used and no staff responsible. New Marketing VP is working on branding. Do perform literature searches, local focus groups, and assessments of projects but hard to capture total program implementations.


How can we integrate what we have learned? Document databases (eg Library catalogs) and sharing (eg APLIC listserv).

  1. Theory of change. One of the donors is expecting PCI to produce logframes which is pushing evidence base to show logical connections of purpose and outcomes with evidence. Gates expects delivery research.

Q How were the innovations rolled out to get “buy-in” from staff?

Q Could PCI join APLIC and have a staff person visit some of our DC members to learn? Jessica in San Diego is a possibility.

Q are libraries outdated?

Q sounds like you need an information specialist to gather those innovation insights to get them dispersed to the staff.

A need a more senior strategist to do this

Q we at FHI360 are still struggling to pull out the assets using yammer and intranet.

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