Building Narrative Capacity at ADB


Building Narrative Capacity at ADB

01 August 2010
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In 2009, the Knowledge Management Center (KMC) in ADB’s Regional and Sustainable Development Department launched an oral history project to help ADB hear itself. Staff expressed deep appreciation for the book ADB: Reflections and Beyond and its companion audio composition, Beyond: Stories and Sounds from ADB’s Region.

It started in October 2008 when KMC decided to test ADB’s appetite for storytelling. A scoping exercise soon confirmed that staff were ready and willing to share their experiences through narrative techniques. In March 2009, long tables covered with blank sheets were laid out in ADB’s Library, inviting staff to jot down significant memories and mark out ADB’s crossroads over the years.

With some difficulty at the start, a timeline of ADB’s history emerged from staff reminiscences. It articulated a healthy blend of recollections—some fundamental, others more subtle. This became the basis for the structure of the book. Interviews with alumni, management, and staff provided the most trying yet fulfilling moments.

Eventually, what came to be known as the “Yellow Book” was released on 2 February 2010, and feedback was overwhelmingly positive.

Through the project, ADB makes growing use of knowledge management tools, methods, and approaches but also learned that it must better capture and store its wealth of tacit knowledge.

Geographical Focus: 
Regional - Asia
Type of Content: 
Project Stories


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