By Clare Convey, The Business Innovation Facility
“Sharing knowledge is not about giving people something, or getting something from them. That is only valid for information sharing. Sharing knowledge occurs when people are genuinely interested in helping one another develop new capacities for action; it is about creating learning processes.”
Peter Senge, Center for Organizational Learning, MIT Sloan School of Management
Collaborating, innovating, asking hard questions and learning from others....are all vital ingredients for successful inclusive business. Every inclusive business project is unique but many of the opportunities, risks and challenges it faces are not. And every project, whether it succeeds or not, will provide a wealth of understanding that can be used to inform and improve future ventures.
The Business Innovation Facility, a three year pilot programme supported by the Department for International Development, is now at its halfway point. A significant amount of knowledge and tools are already coming out of projects that are being developed in Bangladesh, India, Malawi, Nigeria and Zambia. The experiences ‘on the ground’ are providing new ways of thinking about inclusive business – particularly which types of projects and support work, which don’t and, most importantly, why.
Sharing this knowledge is an essential part of the Facility’s remit. It teamed up Innovations Against Poverty, funded by the Swedish International Development Agency to develop the Practitioner Hub - a website where this knowledge can be shared and where practitioners can connect, share experiences and gain new insights to help inclusive business ventures grow. It focuses on what’s practical – the nuts and bolts of inclusive business.
The Practitioner Hub has recently been upgraded with new resources and new areas for knowledge sharing. It looks at essential topics such as ‘last-mile distribution’ and ‘commercialising NGOS’ and offers insights, tools and the opportunity, through its networks and blogs, for practitioners from across the globe to talk to each other and share their own experiences and advice.
It is crucial that more people join these conversations and anyone that has not already joined the Hub is encouraged to do so. If you are genuinely interested in helping other practitioners and developing new capacities for action, it is the only place to be! www.businessinnovationfacility.org.
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