Sunday, July 22, 2007

Euforic review of information management at Van Leer Foundation

In July 2007, Euforic submitted the reports of its review of information at the Bernard van Leer Foundation.

The report contained the finding of two studies commissioned in late 2006 and 2007. The first looked at the InfoHub, the second at the wider information management (IM) situation of the Foundation.

The review sought to understand some of the information ‘demands’ that frame why people in the Foundation seek information in the ways they do, when, how, and who from. The demand assessment revealed a complicated situation with many competing pressures on staff that directly influence their information seeking behaviours and usage.

The review also examined examples of different information uses in the Foundation, as a guide to better understanding the information sources and mechanisms that staff might have access to and actually use. These ‘cases’ showed quite different patterns of information needs according to the task at hand – grant-making, advocacy, and knowledge.

Discussions with staff also generated many general and specific insights into the information management challenges in the Foundation. These include: to find back information that should already be available; to select and filter what’s already stored; to synthesize ‘learning points’ out of various reports and reporting systems; how staff document their own ‘learning points’; learning and sharing across teams and projects in a changing organizational framework; interfacing different information management systems and services; identifying and adopting common terminology standards; and tracking external developments and events related to early childhood development.

The Bernard van Leer Foundation aims to enhance opportunities for young children (aged 0-8 years) growing up in circumstances of social and economic disadvantage, with the objective of developing their potential to the greatest extent possible. It currently supports around 280 projects in approximately 40 developing and industrialised countries. The Foundation joined Euforic in late 2006.

See also Euforic’s dossier on information, knowledge and communication