By Beltina Gjeloshi, Action Team Manager, IMPACT 2030
IMPACT 2030 is the leading private sector-led initiative raising awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and advancing the contributions on the part of corporations and their volunteers’ skills-based time to the achievement of the SDGs. In other words, by connecting people, organizations, efforts, and capital, corporate volunteering paves the way to achieving the SDGs. At the core of this work is the provision of venues and communication strategies to identify partners sharing a similar goal focus so that they can engage in activities and discussions as well as share knowledge and lessons (such as stories, experiences, and tools), thus creating a set of standards and best practices. Any such effort to interact, collaborate, and create a ‘history of practice’ then is necessary to the establishment of a Community of Practice (CoP). Practice makes perfect, or does it? At IMPACT 2030, it is collaborative practice that makes perfect.
Information and knowledge are critical assets of any one organization and they need to be managed strategically to bring collaboration to life and generate partnerships. In this regard, Action Teams, representing multi-stakeholder partnerships, synchronize efforts, resources, and commitment to impact the SDGs when avenues are created and facilitated. Just like companies implement employee engagement programs to create a team-based culture, IMPACT 2030 is also looking into a similar, albeit differing, approach that promotes clear communication, collaboration, and problem solving as a team. This is particularly the case for the Action Teams segment.
Currently there is no formal plan, framework, or model in place to ensure knowledge-sharing amongst groups like IMPACT 2030 Action Teams that results in high performance work teams. This presents an opportunity that begs a series of questions. How effective are leaders in promoting knowledge sharing in a shared-effort/team-based initiative? What do participants (potential teammates) perceive as barriers to creating a culture of knowledge sharing? What lessons can we take from knowledge management and how do we go from knowledge management to knowledge sharing and collaboration? How can intellectual assets, such as knowledge, experience, and relations, from partners and Action Teams give an edge to IMPACT 2030 in building partnerships to achieve the SDGs?
Last week I took on the role of Action Team Manager and have been learning first-hand how IMPACT 2030 implements its primary objectives: engagement, collaboration, and measurement. It is in objective No.2 that the opportunity to establish, instill, and promote collaboration amongst Action Teams resides—“create and facilitate cross-sector and cross-industry cooperation between companies and stakeholders to initiate joint commitments and actions impacting the SDGs.” In practice, this means the creation of a digital communication and knowledge-sharing platform for partners to use to share knowledge and experiences as well as collaborate on projects relating to expertise or SDG area. As I thought of the aforementioned questions and how I can develop this platform for collaboration, it was clear that the opportunity lies both in collecting and transferring knowledge as well as finding and developing most effective ways to do so.
My mandate as Action Teams Manager thus is to create a platform that Action Teams can use to gather and share knowledge and awareness, gain perspectives, and over time create a resource for best practices when it comes to Action Teams’ involvement, work scope, and impact. I have already entertained a number of ideas as to how I might structure or provide formatting to it, amongst which I think purposeful storytelling fits well and is appropriate to addressing Action Teams’ needs, tackling existing knowledge in order to derive best practices and lesson learned. Another component of my plan for successful collaboration includes the celebration of successes and the opportunity those present to lead the path for other Teams. While existing Action Teams are at the center of this agenda and will benefit first-hand from such a platform, prospective partners or otherwise interested candidates will also find in this a dedicated section to learn more about the opportunity to join or create an Action Team and be part of a global community of practice to advance the achievement the SDGs.