KM for Development: Focus on R&D and Innovation

2 March 2012
Dr. Serafin D. Talisayon, Director, R&D, Center for Concious Living Foundation, Inc. Philippines
Special Seminar

An expert dubbed as “Father of Knowledge Management (KM)” in the Philippines introduced two emerging trends in KM—presencing and future centersduring his seminar titled“KM for Development: Focus on R & D and Innovation” held on 2 March 2012 at SEARCA, Los Baños, Laguna.

In his presentation, Dr. Serafin D. Talisayon, Director for Research and Development at the Center for Conscious Living Foundation, Inc., and retired University of the Philippines (UP) professor, explained that presencing, a concept developed by management guru Peter Senge, is basically about “sensing what might happen in the future and discovering our part in bringing a desired future to pass.”

Presencing is not about transferring best practices from one organization to another, but about innovating the next practices. This makes KM practitioners, in a way, “learn from the future”. However, one of the hindrances in presencing is the inability of organizations to get out of their comfort zones and change their traditional mental models. The key for innovation, he said, is to “learn to unlearn” so that people start to accept, explore, and adopt new mental models that are more open and less rigid.

Dr. Talisayon also discussed Leif Edvinsson’s idea of future centers, which is a place or environment where people can “break out of patterns and routines, [and] see issues on multiple perspectives”. This allows organization members to think and take actions using new lenses, thus leading to the creation and adoption of innovative practices. This is important so that the organization can deliver sustainable solutions to recurring, as well as future, organizational problems.

The KM guru shared some of his lessons learned in applying KM in development work. He connected KM with development concepts such as participation, leadership, sense of ownership by the people, and empowerment using cases derived from his involvements with the government and with the grassroots. He emphasized that development workers’ own concept of development “can [itself] be an obstacle in doing what is right for a community,” implying that development communicators should consciously check their own concept of “development” when doing development work.

Dr. Talisayon was Professor at the UP Technology Management Center in Diliman, and is also an internationally-acclaimed KM consultant. The seminar, on the other hand, was organized by SEARCA, in partnership with the Department of Science Communication, College of Development Communication (DSC-CDC), and the Knowledge Management Association of the Philippines (KMAP). (Jomarie Bernadine Angela P. Dizon)