WBI: What do you do as Director of Knowledge & Learning?
BL: WBI is the capacity development arm of the World Bank. We put together programs of activities that help developing countries learn from each and from experts around the world. We cover a number of topics or themes such as dealing with climate change, managing cities, improving health delivery systems, forging public-private partnerships, and different approaches to economic growth and dealing with crises. In all these areas we bring together and package the best knowledge we can find - from inside and outside the Bank. We combine academic knowledge from universities, with operational knowledge from the Bank’s long experience in client countries. We use that knowledge to develop a diverse set of learning opportunities ranging from executive development courses or seminars for senior policy makers to live just-in-time knowledge exchange events among development professionals.
WBI: How do you ensure that this knowledge transfer is effective?
BL: We connect practitioners who are looking for answers to specific problems in one part of the world with practitioners in other parts of the world who may have solutions or at least relevant experience and knowledge to share. We know the content is relevant because there is a real need and demand for it. And practitioners understand each other – even if they don’t speak the same language. We have also begun using social media such as podcasting, webcasting, and facebook as a way of building and supporting practitioner communities across the globe.
WBI: Why is innovation an important theme for WBI?
"Thinking out-of-the-box" - finding better ways of doing things - is more and more important in today’s knowledge-based economy. We need solutions that really work and that last. There’s is a tremendous amount of innovation outside the Bank and we want to bring it inside to enrich our traditional business lines of lending, analytical work, and capacity development. WBI is proactively looking for fresh ideas and sharing them with our colleagues in other parts of the Bank. But we also want to support small innovators and social entrepreneurs around the world and help them expand their ideas and projects. The Development Marketplace
is one such example where we work with a set of partners to support and nourish innovative ideas.