Thursday, January 31, 2008

Brisbane - beautiful one day - perfect the next!!

Hi from Nerida. I have been in Brisbane at a Statewide Social and Economic Workshop hosted by the Qld Department of Natural Resources and Water (DNRW), Social and Economic Unit this week.

The aim of the workshop was:

  • to network and collaborate with other colleagues involved in social and economic aspects of NRM
  • to determine the social and economic capacity, knowledge and research priorities of NRM regions in Qld, and
  • to inform and guide future collaborative research and capacity building.

There was a great mix of Regional NRM Body staff, researchers and consultants, Australian Government, Queensland Government and Local Government participants.

The highlight for me was the presentation by Nicole Blackett on the MERI (Monitoring, Evaluation, Reporting, and Improvement) process which I have convinced her to add to the RKRK (Regional Knowledge Resource Kit). This was the best description of the MERI process I have heard yet.

Also, the presentation by Mark Fenton on the Social and Institutional Foundations of NRM, RECaP project. Both these presenters stand out as being excellent communicators with an ability to convey complex topics in simple and straight-forward language. Also, Mark presented without Powerpoint - what a joy!

Day 2 was based on interactive sessions using techniques working around 'world cafe'. This gave us all a great opportunity to network and learn from each other.

Another highlight was the fantastic Japanese restaurant we went to for dinner on day 1 and a beautiful venue on the river - the Brisbane Powerhouse Terrace level.

DNRW (Derec Davies) is now following up with the setting up of a Community of Practice around social and economic issues in NRM. More news soon...

Next blog will be about our second RKRK Knowledge Leaders Training being conducted in Melbourne right now.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

What is Australia's third largest island?

That's where Nerida, Bruce and Melanie are today and tomorrow - Australia's third largest island is Kangaroo Island, located off the coast of South Australia. The largest is Tasmania, and the second largest is Melville Island, located off the coast of the Northern Territory.

We're here with Kangaroo Island NRM to observe a Performance Story pilot workshop and then explore links between our Regional Knowledge Strategy process and the Performance Story process. You can hear about Performance Stories in this presentation (mp3 audio). One of our Regional Knowledge Strategy pilots, NRM North in Tasmania, has already also gone through the Performance Story pilot process.

Despite an amazingly strong, cold wind, we were last night able to take a walk to explore some historic sites in the town of Kingscote where we are staying, including a visit to Kangaroo Island's penguins. The
Island is famous for its natural assets, particularly its wildlife.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Social software options

There has been quite a bit written recently about web 2.0 and social software – particularly headlined by the Facebook rage. It got me thinking about the tools our team uses. We have a blog (yes, this thing you’re reading), a Google calendar that the team contributes to, and a couple of Google groups. Some other examples:
  • Many of us have Facebook sites.
  • Nerida and Bruce use Twitter a ‘micro-blogging’ program where they can send short messages via website, email or mobile phone.
  • Alison, Claire, Nerida and Bruce are on LinkedIn (a professional networking site).
  • Bruce has his own personal blog and China blog. Kathy writes her own blog (through (oops, must update this - K).
  • Claire and Melanie have Google Reader to subscribe to websites using RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds – a great way to see when something new has been posted on your favourite websites, from one page (rather than having to visit every website separately).
Max Kiesler, an internet reviewer, has posted in his blog a list of 40 open source (free) social software programs. He writes:

While large scale social sites like Flickr, Digg, Youtube and Myspace have predominated the web-o-sphere over the past few years there still is a need for narrow content verticals in this arena. This list will give you links to 40 open source resources to get you started building your own social bookmarking, networking, filesharing or search application. The following is a list of what I consider the be the best open source social software that I've found over the past year.

Find his post here.
And Robin Good has also reviewed some options for collaborative software in a recent blog post here. He got some of his list of products from a website which looks very interesting – it’s an RSS feed all about collaborative software.
Robin’s list includes tools to send large files to anyone, instant messenger gateways allowing you to connect simultaneously to all your favorite instant messaging networks and a couple of interesting tool to draw, annotate and share web page markups.

Monday, January 7, 2008

A new post for a new year!

Phew, seems ages since the last blog – well it WAS last year!! Happy New Year everyone! Hope you all had a fabulous holiday and to those of you still on holiday – don’t forget to come back, we miss you!

The main event of December (apart from all the seasonal festivities of course!) was the National Core Team training held in Melbourne from 10 – 13 December. Ahhh Melbourne – home of culture, cricket, shopping and damn fine coffee. (How did they get everyone to concentrate for 4 days – lock the doors on the conference venue?) The point of the whole thing was to give Knowledge Strategy training to the National Core Team – State and Australian government staff and non-governmental organisations involved in working with the regions. The training explained the knowledge strategy process and demonstrated techniques for taking the regional staff through the process. Regional Knowledge Leaders training will start in February, and places are available – if you are interested please see the information at

Now we would hate to raise anyone’s blood pressure after the lowering effects of a chilled Xmas on the beach, but the deadline is fast approaching for tenders for a trial provision of an independent advisory service to assist NRM bodies select decision-making approaches. Proposals must be received by email no later than 5pm AEDT on 18 January 2008 (ha! I remembered to put 08 not 07!), with one hard copy received by mail soon after. For more info see

Try to stay cool in the January heat everyone! More soon…cheers, Kathy