Ready to elevate?

Do you have your elevator speach ready? Can you tell me why IT (whatever IT is) is so exciting in the time it takes to get from ground level to 4th floor? Even if you won’t ever elevate (what is the verb for taking the elevator?) with the one person who can change your live by giving you a million $$ for your idea, boiling your idea down to the essence is great for mental hygiene, getting focussed and being interesting when you talk about your ideas.

My task today was to write a list of some interesting projects I have been involved in and say in a sentence or two how they were done and what the results were. The list is maybe more useful for a trip up Empire State building (because of its length), but still, I would recommend to do this with your team or alone: Try to come up with the one to three sentences that tell what was done, how it worked and why it is relevant. This is my list:

  • Assessing communication channels concerning avian influenza in Ghana, Ethiopia and Nigeria (Schiffer et al. 2008). Net-Map was used in in-country inception workshops of a research project. The exercise revealed crucial communication break-points and corruption hot-spots to the assembled stakeholders from ministries, industry, research and farming community.
  • Developing and monitoring a network of development practitioners in Liberia ( This ongoing project aims at enabling knowledge exchange between frontline development practitioners through face-to-face and online interaction. Net-Map is used by the network facilitators to develop strategies for successful network development with limited resources. Regular Net-Mapping sessions will serve to monitor the network development (Schiffer and Hauck 2010). A newly instituted multi-stakeholder water governance body with high aims and low formal decision making capacity used Net-Map to integrate the views from very diverse stakeholders and develop strategies based on networks of advice, information and collaboration with powerful stakeholders.
  • Understanding the fisheries management in small reservoirs in northern Ghana (Hauck and Youkhana 2008). Village level interviews with fishermen, fish-mongers and other stakeholders were used to understand collaboration and conflict in community-based governance of reservoirs. This revealed overlapping governance systems (traditional and modern, top-down and bottom-up) as one reason for unsustainable management and lack of enforcement of rules.
  • Understanding and increasing the impact of agricultural research on policy making in Malawi and Nigeria (Aberman et al. 2010). By looking at concrete case studies (e.g. fertilizer policy) this project aims at understanding the conditions when and how research can enter policy making processes and concretely finding out who the movers and shakers are. The aim is to enable researchers on the ground to be more strategic and focused in the dissemination of their research. Follow-up Net-Map sessions in Malawi will also track how the position of research changes over time.

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