Arve Henriksen – Groundswell

What is the value of strategy in the middle of a global crisis?

Reda Sadki Global public health, Learning strategy

A new global vision and strategy titled ‘Immunization Agenda 2030: A Global Strategy to Leave No One Behind (IA2030)’ was endorsed by the World Health Assembly less than a year before the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Today, the cumulative tension of both urgent and longstanding challenges is stretching people who deliver vaccines. Challenges include immunization service recovery, COVID-19 vaccine introduction, and the persistence of epidemic outbreaks of diseases that can already be prevented by vaccines. Is this the right time to launch a global strategy – especially one developed before the pandemic – to achieve the immunization goals? Yes, immunization staff the world over – and the societies we live in – are still reeling from the shock of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, in times of crisis, thinking and acting strategically can help each of us stay focused on the global immunization goals, keeping us on the path to equitable …

Defoe in the Pillory

Accountability in learning

Reda Sadki Learning strategy

What if you were the key internal resource person with learning expertise? What if you advocated, recommended, and prescribed low-volume, high-cost face-to-face training? What if your advocacy was so successful that global partners invested hundreds of millions of dollars in what you prescribed – even in the absence of any standard to determine the return on that investment? What if your recommended approach resulted in zero measurable impact? What if partners nevertheless kept spending on training, entrenching perverse incentives like per diem to substitute for motivation, evidence, and results? What if you ignored and then dismissed, for as long as you possibly could, the relevance and potential of digital networks to support learning? What if you then managed to replicate the worst, least effective kinds of training through sterile digital formats of slides with voiceovers and a quiz at the end? What if you kept badgering managers to get their …

Time travel

What lies beyond the event horizon of the ‘webinar’?

Reda Sadki Learning design, Learning strategy, Thinking aloud

It is very hard to convey to learners and newcomers to digital learning alike that asynchronous modes of learning are proven to be far more effective. There is an immediacy to a sage-on-the-stage lecture – whether it is plodding or enthralling – or to being connected simultaneously with others to do group work. Asynchronous goes against the way our brains work, driven by prompts, events, and immediacy. But people get the benefit of “time-shifting” their TV shows and “on demand” is the norm for media consumption now. Most webinars still require you to show up at a specific time. With live streaming of the Foundation’s events, we are observing growing appreciation for asynchronous “I’ll watch it when I want to” availability of recorded events. The behavior seems different from the intention of viewing a recorded webinar, which almost never happens. (This is, in part, the motivation question: does anyone watch …

Walled garden

Can the transformation of global health education for impact rely on input-based accreditation?

Reda Sadki Education business models, Global health, Learning strategy

Burck Smith wrote in 2012 what remains one of the clearest summaries of how accreditation is based primarily on a higher education institution’s inputs rather than its outcomes, and serves to create an “iron triangle” to maintain high prices, keep out new entrants, and resist change. It is worth quoting Smith at length (see this link) as we think through the proposal that the transformation of global health education for impact should rely on accredited institutions. Global health efforts are focused on outcomes and aim to achieve impact. Of necessity, this requires rethinking a broad swath of fairly fundamental issues, from how to construct education to what philosophy should underpin what we design and develop. And the focus on results makes the prevailing input-based accreditation criteria unlikely to be the most useful ones to help achieve global health goals. The call for a “revolution” in education for public health is …

What does the changing nature of knowledge mean for global health?

Reda Sadki Global public health, Learning strategy

Charlotte Mbuh and I will be welcoming Julie Jacobson, one of the founders of Bridges to Development, for our 15-minute Global Health Symposium about neglected needs of women’s health, and specifically the upcoming Female Genital Schistosomiasis (FGS) workshop being organized by the FAST package, a group of international and country partners. Join the Symposium on Facebook, YouTube, or LinkedIn. (If you miss the live stream, the recording is immediately available afterward, via these same links.) During the Ebola crisis response of 2014-2015, I sweet-talked Panu Saaristo into doing the first “15-minute global health symposium”, giving him just 6 minutes for an update about the complex work he was leading. (You can read about it here.) I still remember every point of his presentation and the emotion associated with it, as he described how Red Cross volunteers were risking their own lives to help families bury their dead safely. It turns …

Social network and citation network in the COVID-19 Peer Hub

Disseminating rapid learning about COVID-19 vaccine introduction

Reda Sadki Global health, Global public health, Learning strategy

In July 2019, barely six months before the pandemic, we worked with alumni of The Geneva Learning Foundation’s immunization programme to build the Impact Accelerator in 86 countries. This global community of action for national and sub-national immunization staff pledged, following completion of one of the Foundation’s courses, to support each other in other to achieve impact. Closing the loop from learning to impact produced startling results, accelerating the rate at which locally-resourced projects were implemented and fostering new forms of collaborative leadership. Alumni launched what immediately became the largest network of immunization managers in the world. Then the pandemic dramatically raised the stakes: at least 80 million children under one were placed at risk of vaccine-preventable diseases such as diphtheria, measles and polio as COVID-19 disrupted immunization service as worldwide. Alumni were amongst the first in their countries to respond, leveraging the power of being connected to each other …

Solidarity across public health and medicine silos during a pandemic

Reda Sadki Education business models, Global health, Global public health, Learning strategy

We are launching a new Scholar programme about environmental threats to health, with an initial focus on radiation. (I mapped out what this might look like in 2017.) As part of the launch, we are enlisting support of immunization colleagues. Our immunization programme is our largest and most advanced programme, and still growing fast since its inception in 2016. At The Geneva Learning Foundation, we have spent 5 years pouring mind, body, and soul into building what has become the largest digital platform for national and sub-national immunization leaders. Along the way, we discovered that it is not only about scale. Social Network Analysis (SNA) by colleagues Sasha Poquet and Vitomir Kovanovic at the Centre for Complexity and Change in Learning is now helping us to understand the power in the relationships not just one-to-many but many-to-many across the network. Yes, there is a linkage as most vaccines are for …

Diving platform on Graveyard Hill in Kabul from TV-Hill, Afghanistan. Sven Dirks, Wien

The significance of digital platforms to the business

Reda Sadki Learning strategy, Thinking aloud, Writing

Business gets done by groups in workshops and meetings and by individuals in private conversation. There is an undeniable cultural advantage for diplomacy that comes from looking your interlocutor in the eye. Emerging digital platforms are in the margins of this business. The pioneers are creaky in their infrastructure and, ironically, playing catch-up. They have long lost the initial burst of enthusiasm that led to their creation. Yet they are still here, alive and kicking with funding that can support, in principle, their reinvention. For this, they need courage and creativity, especially if they function in a bureaucratic environment. Then there are new platforms in search of purpose and the users it would bring. Sometimes, it is the other way around. No platform is perfect. All of them have strengths, experience, insights, and the potential to be more in the future than what they are now. Some have already achieved …

Submarine control panel. Bowfin Submarine Museum, Pearl Harbor. Personal collection.

How do we measure the impact of informal and incidental learning on organizational performance?

Reda Sadki Learning strategy

Evidence from learning science clearly identifies how to strengthen learning culture in ways that will drive performance. However, in a recent study conducted by Learning Strategies International (LSi), we quickly found limitations and gaps in the data available from the organization examined, despite the best effort by the organization’s staff to answer our questions and requests. We found two gaps that needed to be addressed before the most effective approaches to develop capabilities could  be applied usefully – and their impact measured: The gap between a commitment in principle to learning and skepticism about its actual value. (This gap surprised us.) Gaps in data and reporting needed to measure internal learning (and how to improve it). We believe that the first gap (skepticism about the value of learning) is the direct result of the second (lack of measurement). Without a measure of its impact on performance, internal (staff) learning is likely …

Painting at Trigonos (25 January 2017). Personal collection.

The future of learning that could have been

Reda Sadki Learning strategy

In June 2017, the Institute’s president, together with its Chief Learning Officer (CLO), convened an all-hands-on-deck meeting to announce the Institute’s commitment to strengthening its learning culture of innovation and change through an innovative, evidence-based internal learning strategy. Staff were invited to nominate and then elect representatives to the Learning & Development Committee (LDC), mandated with the challenge of ingraining learning “karma in the walls and halls” as key to delivering on its promise to prepare a new generation for the coming humanitarian challenges. In July, the Institute performed its first benchmark of learning culture and performance. This demonstrated that staff learning is key to mission, financial, and knowledge performance (ie, to delivering results). This benchmark was followed by a learning practice audit in August that woke both managers and staff to their existing strengths and the amazing ways in which they were already continually learning at the point of …