PNG KNOWLEDGE HUB DEVELOPMENT

The PNG NRI Council, in 2016, resolved to develop the Institute's Waigani Campus into the PNG Knowledge Hub. The Council made this strategic decision motivated by successes during the ten-year period, starting in 2005, under the leadership of Dr Thomas Webster as Director and late Sir Henry Chow as Chairman.

Prior to 2005, the PNG NRI was an academic institution w here the different research interests of academics dominated the research agenda. Over the ten-year period since 2005, the Institute has shifted focus towards becoming a public policy think tank. With this new strategic direction, the Institute aims to take its place among the leading think tanks within the Asia-Pacific region. It’s Mission, however, is to promote research and policies that enhance the welfare of Papua New Guineans.

The Institute seeks to move towards achieving its Vision and mission through a set of five year corporate plans. The 2017 annual work plan marks the second year of the 2016-2020 corporate plan. PNG NRI has a strategic implementation framework which connects each annual work plan to the corporate plan. Through this process, we aim to remain focused and ensure our work addresses PNG’s long-term development challenges.

In building the Knowledge Hub, the six main components that will enable us to realise this objective are:

1. Infrastructure Development: To realise the development of the PNG NRI campus into the PNG Knowledge Hub requires investments in appropriate office space, accommodation, and landscape design. We have started work on this and are making good progress. This includes the refurbishment of the research building, road network, design of the Sir Henry Chow Building, and now housing two Projects of national significance – Bougainville Referendum research and the APEC Study Centre.

2. Information Management System: A good Knowledge Hub requires a sound information management system that facilitates access to and processing of data and information. The information must be available internally, but also for a wider audience. We therefore need to invest in a system that allow s each section of the institute to operate effectively, to link to the rest of the institute through an intranet system, and to connect to the outside world via the internet. This will require upgrading of our hardware, software and training or recruiting the staff with the right skill set to operate. We have started the process with the KPMG review of our IT system. More importantly, DFAT Australia has assisted us to recruit an Information Systems Manager who has recently started working here at the PNG NRI. Finally, we have drafted an IT strategy which is currently being reviewed by our Information Systems Manager.

3. Financial Management System: The need for a new financial management system which enables us to make strategic financial and management decisions. We w ant to make the Institute financially independent and sustainable. Hence, investment in a financial management system is critical.

4. Human Resource Development: The PNG NRI systems and processes, senior management, research, corporate, and knowledge management, require a set of skills that we cannot easily find in PNG. Hence, we will develop our ow n system for recruiting, investing and developing our own people who will appreciate and mainstream the PNG NRI w ay. We have started this with the leadership development program, a fluid senior management structure, and recruitment approaches. We also have institutionalized job descriptions and annual performance appraisals.

More importantly, we have started employing our ow n (former) cadets-turned researchers. In going forward, we will heavily invest in the development of our cadets for researchers, and in traineeships for non-research staff.

5. Organisational and Management Structure: The PNG NRI Organisational Structure must remain fluid and facilitate the work of the Institute. We avoid granting monopoly power to any one section or individual. Our focus is on the systems and processes which turn ideas into action. Within this framework, people are recruited to fit into the system as and when required.

A fluid, dynamic and organic structure is what we are investing in. The Council remains the overall decision making and oversight body. In 2016, this fluid management system was trialed, and it worked, so we remain committed to using this approach going forward.

6. Knowledge Management Division Development: The development of the Knowledge Management Division (KMD) has progressed well. The Office renovation has been completed with staff making full use of the office now. The work on the library database, public policy collection, and scanning of internal PNG NRI documents is being progressed. On the social media front, the Institute’s work is being promoted heavily on its new website (www.pngnri.org) and its accounts on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube and Google +.

7. District Profile Database: On the basis of the PNGNRI mission ‘to provide evidence-based information for informed decision-making in order to contribute to improved service delivery to enhance the welfare of Papua New Guineans’ and the expansion of the previous work on District Profiles, we have progressed this innovative work, we will provide the selected and updated information to users who will access information through the use of internet. In 2018, a proof of concept to build a web based user interface tool incorporating a GIS platform to detail key information, both written and GIS information. This platform is a user-friendly tool to navigate and easy to understand. The conversions of lowest geographical unit data from one platform to GIS has been progressed and information in the database are now verified at random locations in nine provinces and this verification work is completed. The updating and compilation process of confirmation and re-arranging information will commence and will progress to online in 2019. It is NRI’s intention to provide access to GIS mapping of various entities down to district level.

Complementing the GeoNRI, is the development of the AtlasNRI is a platform for ready-made social indicators on the basis of the detailed analysis. This information will be presented in a static format and ready for use by interested developers of policies, planners and programmers. Based on a proof of concept prototype in 2017 and in 2018, conversion of data profiles from one software to another has been resolved and ongoing development of indicators is planned for webpage in 2019.