I readily accepted CBI's invitation to write the foreword for this issue of CBiZine, especially as the theme is knowledge sharing. CBI is a pot of knowledge and a hub of information, but it faces challenges in how it makes it all available to its target groups. CBI has already improved the situation by making its website more accessible and user-friendly. However, in my opinion they could go even further by linking products and information on their website directly to the relevant statistics and even to their success stories, all the same time keeping it simple, straightforward and catchy!
But back to the theme: I’ve received many compliments about CBI from clients in the field who find it an invaluable source of information and knowledge, particularly its website and publications. It’s extremely important that CBI consultants like myself are able to share information because knowledge is useless if it’s not shared, duplicated and utilised. Personally, I keep emptying what I call my knowledge repository so that it can be refilled by organisations like CBI. CBiZine also plays a key role; I’m a regular reader and I find it really informative. But CBI should think of ways to ensure that the number of readers grows steadily.
At the end of January I attended CBI’s latest External Experts (EE) Day in The Hague. I’ve been attending them since 2008 and they just keep getting better. In terms of logistics, sequencing activities, the division of labour, the workshops and the networking opportunities, the organisation this year was spot on. I was particularly impressed by keynote speakers Arancha González of ITC and eBay’s Hanne Melin, who, for CBI experts like me, put some very important issues on the table.
During the EE Day I was asked how CBI might improve the way it supports its experts. I realised that we are often alone in the field so it’s very important to properly train and orientate new experts so they know how far they can go, what to do in certain situations, what CBI stands for and its culture. It needs to be made clear what CBI expects from them, the regulations it observes and the role played in our activities by CBI’s programme managers. After working with them for quite a while I’ve come to appreciate that delivery is key to CBI, which is one of the best development agencies there is.
Currently I am coordinating a CBI project in Kenya on value-added and specialty Kenyan Tea for the EU and regional markets. > Click here to learn more