The old Bank: hub and spoke….the new Bank: just one node in a vast network.
But in this network the Bank is still a “super-node,” as Martine Haas, Associate Professor of Management at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School describes it. In an information-based, totally connected world, the Bank brings a lot of material to the table. This knowledge was the subject of a panel discussion this week on “State of the World Bank’s Knowledge Services: Knowledge for Development.” While we’ve heard about the “knowledge bank” since Jim Wolfensohn was president, actually realigning the Bank is still a work in progress. The paradox that Bank officials are grappling with: we may have knowledge but we’re still a “bank” and that still means lending.
A new report, the first in an annual series, is a stocktaking of the Bank’s knowledge activities, an important step in defining the “knowledge” piece of the open development movement. The Bank has also launched “knowledge platforms,” that hone in on specific topics and create the space for open discussion and crowd-sourced ideas.