Rethinking knowledge management for PPPs

World Bank Group PPP CSA

PPP Knowledge Lab's homepage

The use of public-private partnerships to design, build and deliver infrastructure worldwide has grown significantly in the past decade. Yet the availability of reliable information to help governments and advisors design and deliver projects well, has lagged behind.

The PPP Knowledge Lab is the first collaboration among the major multilateral development agencies to curate comprehensive online knowledge and resources on public-private partnerships (PPPs).

We were brought in to make this vision a reality by conceptualizing the platform, its strategy, design, development and protocols, and oversee its launch an event held at EBRD in London called PPP Days.

Revolutionizing knowledge management

Led by the World Bank Group, the ADB, AfDB, EBRD, EIB, GIH, IDB, IFC, IsDB, GPRBA, OECD, PPIAF, PPPIRC, UNECE, WBG, and WEF collectively contributed their knowledge and content to make decades worth of learning publicly available for experts and PPP practitioners alike.

Changing a marketplace

PPP Practitioners all agreed that the status quo on discovering information and analysis on PPP investments was time consuming, often relying on endless byzantine web searches ending with information of dubious quality, and often, outdated. PPP Practitioners relied on their own experience, or their network to learn, apply, and advance infrastructure investments. We helped change that, creating a platform that would make good information available to those who need it, not just a select few.

The Knowledge Lab was a partnership between many multilateral and development organizations.

Digital experience and design focus

We studied and listened to PPP experts, learners, and novices alike in the early phases of the project we focused on three use cases, not twenty. We built prototypes and ideas, got close to those who would ultimately use the knowledge in their work. No big reveals, no surprises, just focused designs and iterations ultimately resulting in a cohesive experience for those who would be using the Knowledge Lab.

Data and resources were aggregated by sector as well as by individual countries.
We developed design approaches to make complex country data easier to digest and compare.


Changing the way knowledge is made available online is only possible with a strong technology solution at its core. Typically, development organizations would use decade-old systems and infrastructure with costly migration and upkeep costs. We had to create an architecture that would allow for multiple front ends to use the same backend knowledge system. To achieve this new way of knowledge sharing for development, we built a central API using Ruby on Rails and linked several different front-end platforms to the API using javascript frameworks. This approach allows systems both old and new to access the resources and continually update.

The launch

We travelled to the PPP Days Conference in London to officially launch the PPP Knowledge Lab and showcase the collaborative efforts of all the partners and our team. We hosted webinars, walkthroughs, outlined guidelines for resources to be added, and a joint launch communications strategy that was coordinated with all of the agencies.

More work

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