The road to Quito: reflecting on the experience

As I sat down to write this blog post, on the eve of my trip to Quito, I thought about the last time I was together with my Exchange colleagues. Only then I realized six months had gone by since we met, in Jakarta. It certainly doesn’t feel that long, although our project has come a long way since then.

The meeting in Indonesia was really important for our project and it definitely energized our group. On that occasion, we worked together to narrow the scope of our project and make it more feasible, considering the limited resources. After productive days of collaborative work, we selected four dimensions of performance we wanted to explore:

  • strategic direction,
  • boards,
  • quality control and
  • knowledge management.

Each one of us left Jakarta with “homework” to do: four people would study the four dimensions and one person would work on developing a template for the case studies. After completing those tasks, the group created a questionnaire, containing questions about the four dimensions. We used the online survey service from Google and sent it to a small number of staff members from different organizations, with the purpose of conducting a “test drive”.

The respondents provided feedback about the survey. One of the main problems identified was that it was too long and somewhat repetitive. To tackle these issues, we worked together to cut down the number of questions. At first, someone would usually take 50 minutes to answer it. Later, we managed to cut that time in half.

We also decided to change the host of the survey, from Google to SurveyGizmo, as the later offers more options regarding layout and format. Overall, I believe the final version of the questionnaire turned out way more user-friendly than it started.

So, the survey – both in English and in Spanish – went live in late February. Since then, the communication within the group slowed down a bit, as everyone started to work on gathering data for their case study. We decided that, in addition to the online survey, we would also carry out desk research and interview key actors of the organization. That’s what I’ve been working on during this last month, and I guess the same is true for my colleagues.

After this one month of independent work, it’s time to meet again. In Quito, I expect us to share updates regarding progress in the case studies, discuss problems encountered, assess whether or not the case study template is working, and adjust our expectations regarding the final phase of our project. I look forward to catching up with the group!

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