CEF Learning Blog: Halfway Through the Year


How time flies! We’re already halfway through the year and it’s time to brush up on what we might have forgotten, like the heart-warming story of the ant and the ladybug or who said that there are foxes and hedgehogs among us. Intrigued? Then read on…

The year started with a guest post from Mareika Zenker, the chair of the learn4dev network on driving change in a complex world and emphasised the need for diversity of ideas and new thinking. Her post was peppered with memorable quotes she felt the CEF embodied such as “If you do what you always did you get what you always got”. This was echoed later in the year by Robin Poppe who previously wrote the provocatively titled ‘Why Contemporary art is useless’ for the knowledge hub. This year he returned with another controversially titled post to tell us about the shortcomings of cognitive learning in coming up with novel solutions. The fact that both our guest posts so far this year have emphasised new ideas and fresh perspectives on things really highlights its importance.

Another very important skill was written about by CEF’s very own partnership officer Irena Lukač. Communication is crucial no matter what you are doing and to that end Irena shared a few tips for writing in English that even native speakers like myself should make a note of. These include things like being clear and concise and keeping sentences active rather than passive which many people, native speakers and non-native speakers alike often forget or fail to do!

We also had some more blog posts from other CEF staff members like Gašper Pleško Zalar and Matija Čarman who talked about how to make meaningful change and how to achieve excellence through organisational culture respectively. Both underlined the fact that this was an always ongoing process and that you need cooperation from other members of your organisation so always value every member of your team.

We also had our fair share of more specific guides this year; from Kaja Jurleta, Polona Sirnik and Ajda Turk who talked about how to be connected through learning and offered various examples to Dijana Mitrović who gave us some tips and tricks on how to be an effective programme facilitator. Kaja, Polona and Ajda’s article talked about three different types of learning; blended learning, supporting networks and training of trainers and showed us how CEF plans to use these to further learning while Dijana’s article was full of surprising and useful tips which paid attention to every detail, from the ever important ‘have a plan B’ to notes about the sort of music you could use to introduce speakers.

There was an inspiring story about an Ant and a Ladybug which served as a metaphor for the wonderful synergy Ajda and Ivana Angelova developed early this year.  Their story holds many lessons for the rest of us about how to work not only as a group but as a team and how working as a team can help build a foundation for better planning, better coordination and better performance. And from Ants and Ladybugs to Foxes and Hedgehogs, Robert Bauchmüller told us his top tips for being a knowledge broker. Apparently he is more of a fox which means that he is better at connecting knowledge across people, contexts and ideas while those of us in life who are more like hedgehogs are better at gathering and researching knowledge in depth. The trick is to remember that both the foxes and the hedgehogs of this world need each other to work most effectively.

Finally this brings us up to our most recent post just a couple of days ago in the Knowledge hub about Gamification in Finance by Natasha Ilijeva Acevska which talked about how game mechanics are applied to non-game situations. When we look at problems as games it can often help our problem solving  and decision making skills though Natasha highlighted a case where it wasn’t simply looking at problems like games but actually making problems into games with the Croatian city of Rijeka updating a game about participative budgeting. Apparently fans include the city’s mayor!

So that’s everything so far but keep checking the knowledge hub to read more entertaining and informative articles after the summer break.


About Fin McCarron

Fin McCarron is a second year History, Politics and Social and Public Policy student at the University of Glasgow who is working as an intern here at the CEF. She is interested in public sector development, particularly in Central and Eastern Europe.

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