Harvesting 2017

Generating and sharing knowledge

Knowledge sharing in Harvesting workshops takes place within and beyond the workshop participants group. Co-workers tell their stories in a variety of settings. In the first phase of each Harvesting workshop we invite participants to think back to a time in their working lives when they felt entirely focused on and energised for a specific task or project in their given function and to tell their story about this “flow moment”. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (1990: 49) describes the flow as an enlightening moment in which we felt at ease and energised even though we were exerting our maximum effort. “Flow is the feeling of pleasure resulting from enjoyment over the attainment of set goals, the fulfilment of desired expectations, the feeling of being in harmony with the experiences of the moment and of achieving previously unexpected success.”

In the workshop process we aim at extracting the tacit knowledge of participants embedded in their individual experiences. “People carry knowledge within them that involves such intangible factors as personal beliefs, perspective, instinct and values (…) It is more of an ‘unspoken understanding’ about something, knowledge that is more difficult to write down in a database.” (Roumiana Iordanova, Knowledge Management Toolkit, 2014)

Are you curious about what it is, that works well in SOS Children’s Villages and what Harvesting 2017 workshop participants dream of? 
Find it out here. Please have a look at the short film about Harvesting 2017.
If you are curious about the workshop process, find out how Harvesting workshops are structured.

Booklet: What inspires us in our work

Storytelling is an act of trust and it takes courage from each storyteller to put themselves out and share their story. It is important for us to honour that act and to do our best to treat each story in a respectful way. In order to respect the privacy of people mentioned in stories, names have been changed to maintain confidentiality as indicated. We aim to present the story in an authentic way. For most Harvesting storytellers English is not the mother tongue. To keep the original character of the story, editing was conducted in a minimal form. 


Who are the story authors?

The authors of the stories represent the diversity of the Harvesting participants. Seventeen colleagues from sixteen countries and four continents gathered in the Harvesting workshop 2017. They come from different hierarchical levels and functions, from various backgrounds e.g. SOS mothers, a national director and representatives of regional international offices. This diversity is a key source of learning and enables the rich harvest shown in the collection of fruits.

The stories told have been compiled in a booklet: part 1 and part 2.

The backgrounds where SOS co-workers live and work are so heterogeneous that it is often hard for us to imagine what the (work) lives of our colleagues might look like. In order to enable us to become immersed in these diverse worlds we collect stories from the participants long before we meet each other in person. We asked them to describe themselves. A summary can be found at the end of each story in the author’s description.


What are the story topics?

Co-workers experienced flow moments related to the following topics

  • Quality care in SOS Children’s Villages
  • Organisational change
  • Youth can!
  • Children grow roots in their community
  • Securing resources


What are dreams for the future?

The second phase of the Appreciative Inquiry cycle (the appr0och used in Harvesting workshops), the dream phase, sets the scene for the individual to exercise his or her potential in “creative envisioning” for SOS Children’s Villages. When asked: “What might be within my sphere of influence in SOS Children‘s Villages?” Harvesting participants dream of

  • Being able to care for more and more children
  • Future forms of loving care
  • A good environment for children
  • Ideal participatory work in SOS CV
  • Inspiring teamwork
  • A good life after a long lifespan working for SOS Children’s Villages


The Harvest 2017

Find a summary of what participants of the 2017 Harvesting workshop describe as motivating, inspiring and life-giving in their working lives, taken from the stories they told. Leading questions for the analysis were: What works well in the daily activities of SOS Children’s Villages? What gives strength to SOS co-workers? What can we build on within SOS Children’s Villages? We wish you a happy reading experience.

Information material

Read all about the Harvesting Workshop 2017 and the inspiring stories of Harvesting participants:



For more information please contact:

Mag. Irene Gleirscher
+43 512 3316 5671