Divosa - Knowledge and experience in one place
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Access to specific information and work processes is critical for professionals in the social sector. To give the right advice, proper knowledge is necessary. Divosa, an association of executives in the social domain, and recognized this importance and developed two tools to improve their support for professionals. Using WEM, they created a knowledge base, in which all kinds of information are provided, and a knowledge guide, which provides daily support to their professionals. These tools form a necessary and practical application that evolved during the development process.
Professionals in the social sector support people trying to find work, and they provide counseling in situations of debt. With this comes with a great responsibility and need for flexibility. Every situation has different rules and background information and requires a different approach. Marcel van Druenen, project lead of Divosa’s ‘expertise program,’ was looking for a useful application to provide the right support to professionals in this process.
Knowledge base and knowledge guide
Marcel was looking for two solutions: “First, how can we offer all the knowledge available in our association digitally, and in such a way that this knowledge can be expanded in co-creation with and by the professionals in the field? Second, how can we support the professionals in their daily practice with an online tool?”
“There is a lot of information available for people that work in the social domain, about every topic,” Marcel explains. “This information can mainly be found in books, research reports and online -- however, it’s spread over many platforms. I wanted to bring all this knowledge together in one platform and offer the knowledge in two forms, the knowledge base and the knowledge guide.”
Divosa calls this platform “Participatie Campus” – an online Participation Campus.
The basis for a growing knowledge platform
Divosa wants members to manage the content of the knowledge platform themselves, to add and adjust content in order for the platform to continuously evolve. It fits the self-organizing way of working that the local teams of Divosa already apply.
“We are developing a foundation for a growing knowledge platform,” Marcel explains. “We don’t want this content to be centrally maintained by us. The platform should be for professionals and the content maintained by the professionals themselves. This creates ownership in the entire social sector.
No distance between technical and content
“I had no idea how that should look exactly and how we would bring together the different types of content,” Marcel tells us. WEM proved to be ideal to realize Marcel’s ideas. WEM helped create the technical foundation as well as provided support in defining the content structure.
“The team of WEM was able to quickly embrace our substantive questions. There was no distance between ‘we are the technical side and you are the content.’ They understood very well what we were talking about.”
Tools in Divosa’s own hands
The knowledge base was built within one month with WEM. WEM created not just the user interface, but also the back-end management system and the content management system.
Marcel and his colleague Saskia Schrijver, Divosa’s content manager, followed a three-day WEM Training. Now they are not only able to place and control content, but also to adjust the application’s structure. They have the architecture in their own hands, which allows them to be flexible and immediately react to wishes that arise from users and changes in the social sector.
During this process, Marcel discovered the fun in modeling with WEM: “I enjoy playing in WEM and thinking about the best solution. I got hooked and want to build more tools with WEM.”
A seed that can grow
Divosa’s Participation Campus, including both the knowledge base and the knowledge guide, is already in use. Other organizations have noticed its success and asked Marcel about using it in their own sectors.
“We’ve already been contacted by ministries and foundations that look at our tool as an example to share knowledge. And that’s possible, because the structure is applicable in any sector,” explains Marcel. “Only the content needs to be adjusted and assigned to the respective topic and target group.”
“We hope to make more use of this technology in the future, so we can offer more proficient support. We’re definitely on the right track with our knowledge base and knowledge guide as a solid basis.”