Knowledge Mobilization (KMb): Multiple Contributions & Multi-Production Of New Knowledge

The Knowledge Mobilization Cycle: From Daily Practice to “Best” Practice And Back Again

Knowledge Mobilization is an on-going daily process. It is a continuing cycle of searching, gathering, including, researching, communicating, listening and practicing – and remembering that the process is not perfect.

Daily Practice & “Good” Knowledge:
I’ve been thinking about the ongoing, daily process of searching websites and blogs, gathering resources, and posting stuff for others to read. Each day is about timing and finding what I consider the few shiny knowledge diamonds to pull together into a daily social media Knowledge Mobilization package. Each day, sifting through the data noise I find some “good” stuff and “not-so-good” stuff. It may be valuable to some and not so much to others. So be it. That’s a part of the process of Knowledge Mobilization (KMb). But what I may consider “not-so-good” (and post online anyway) may perhaps shine light on someone else’s knowledge which can be developed further and perhaps contribute to the sparkle of other knowledge diamonds eventually.

“Best” Practice & Policy-Making:
The more important point (and result) of KMb is “best” practice and good policy-making – which depends on “good” knowledge. But “good” and “best” are relative terms. Policies are the outcomes of decision making based on “best” practice.  Policies come from the choices made based on the knowledge provided (as well as other social, political and economic influences) usually made by decision-makers – often governments establishing laws and regulations to allocate resources, as well as the funders and granting councils deciding which research to support, why and how.

Policy-Making & Daily Practice:
From policy-making comes daily practice – the everyday way we put the policies in motion, the daily processes of implementing projects and managing organisations, individuals and ourselves. It’s the extension of policies to everyday practice that begins to fully separate the “good” from the “not-so-good”.

Good Knowledge:
Good knowledge develops by the everyday sharing and analysis of our daily processes, experiences and learning – which is when effective Knowledge Mobilization really begins to emerge. It’s about the timing of making connections and developing networks to exchange knowledge. It’s about asking questions and listening to answers. It’s about understanding differences and finding common ground.

Inclusive Knowledge & Social Media:
Knowledge is also inclusive and most effective when it seeks common ground. It doesn’t mean always agreeing; it means finding the most effective solution that works through best practices. Social media is one common ground platform where knowledge develops and influence best practices. This is why social media is such an important vehicle for KMb because it provides ways of making these connections and finding common ground.

And because we are all globally connected, putting policies into best practice effects everyone. Learning from “best” practice is knowledge. As I mentioned, practices are everyday events that include all people. When we learn from local practices and see the broader application to best practices we contribute to the greater good of society. All people can be included through communication – now especially more possible by social media. All people can have a voice and contribute to Knowledge Mobilization.

The Knowledge Mobilization Cycle:
Daily practice may be “good” or “not-so-good” but it’s the daily practice that leads to researching that leads to learning that leads to sharing that leads to collaboration that leads to policy-making that leads to “best” practice that leads to re-evaluatingthe continuing cycle of Knowledge Mobilization. Re-evaluation and further research is necessary because “best” practice will change as people change and society changes. We always need to adapt and improve for future benefit – while sifting through the data noise of everyday life.

We may not always find the diamonds we’re looking for, but sometimes – like the cycle of creating diamonds – contributing to the cycle of Knowledge Mobilization is worth the effort.

4 responses to “The Knowledge Mobilization Cycle: From Daily Practice to “Best” Practice And Back Again

  1. researchimpact January 10, 2011 at 11:59 am

    I wonder what this cycle would look like if it were drawn as a wheel with spokes. I can imagine a situation where knowledge can move across the wheel without being constrained to proceed through each step. Perhaps researching could inform policy making without going through a collaboration step. Best practices could inform learning environments without going through an additional cycle of research. I think the sequence of steps around the cycle is correct (although collaboration might be part of every step) but allowing them to connect in a non-linear fashion would make the model messier but that’s what KMb is – a messy interaction.

    • KMbeing January 11, 2011 at 11:06 am

      I like the idea of seeing the diagram as a wheel with spokes as knowledge is mobilized across each category and is informed by each category as well. KMb is not a linear process. My attempt to present a cycle shows the more predominant direction in which KMb evolves as “best” practices are re-evaluated. Thanks for the insight.

  2. researchimpact January 10, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    and speaking of messy, Bennet and Bennet (2008) described KMb as ““Collaborative entanglement consistently develops and supports approaches and processes that combine the sources of knowledge and the beneficiaries of that knowledge to interactively move toward a common direction such as meeting an identified community need”. Bennet,. A. and Bennett, D. (2008).The fallacy of knowledge reuse: building sustainable knowledge. J. Knowledge Management, 12(5), 21-33.

    And Sandra Nutley has described KMb like activities using the term “knowledge interaction might more appropriately describe the messy engagement of multiple players with diverse sources of knowledge” (Davies, H Nutley, S & Walter, I 2008, ‘Why ‘knowledge transfer’ is misconceived for applied social research’, Journal of Health Services Research & Policy, 13(3), 188-190)

    I guess this stuff is messy and entangled.

    • KMbeing January 11, 2011 at 11:14 am

      “Collaborative entanglement” and “knowledge interaction” are two excellent ways of describing KMb. Although the KMb cycle diagram I present provides an overall description of “process”, KMb is never as linear or exact as the cycle presents. KMb is fluid and the diverse sources that contribute to knowledge are difficult to conceptualize so easily. Nevertheless, understanding that knowledge influences are multiple and knowledge is shaped and contributed to on an on-going and always developing cycle is what is significant to our understanding of knowledge and knowledge mobilization.

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