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

Monthly Archives: August 2011

Jack Layton: A Political Knowledge Mobilizer

This week Canada and the world lost a great, inspirational leader and politician – Jack Layton. There has been extensive media coverage and many other bloggers and tweeters used social media to convey their sense of loss.  Even those who never voted for this personable and inclusive politician were moved by Jack’s human touch and vision of how polite a political and human arena can be – reminding us of the common human roots of the world of politics in the word polite. That was Jack Layton – a polite, courageous and truly likeable politician and human being.

Right to the end as cancer was cutting short the work of someone I consider a political knowledge mobilizer, Jack Layton’s message of love, hope and optimism – in his letter written just two days before his death – resonates with those who understand our human connectedness throughout the world. Jack’s message is not just for Canadians – but for everyone on this planet.

I am fortunate to have had a very small but personal connection to Jack Layton. Several years ago during one of his early poltical campaign trails, Jack and his equally inclusive wife (and now courageous widow) Olivia Chow stopped by to kick off a season-opener of a gay softball team I was part of – introducing themselves to each of us with more than just the usual political handshaking. Coincidentally, the next day Jack was a passenger on the Ottawa flight I was working as an Air Canada flight attendant and actually recognized me from the day before. What is even more interesting is that my flight schedule seemed to coincide with his campaign stops as I met him again in the elevator of my Vancouver layover hotel that evening!  A couple of days later when he walked into the gym of the Edmonton hotel I was staying in and onto the treadmill beside me, I turned to Mr. Layton and jokingly said, “Jack you have to stop stalking me!” We both laughed, and I realized just how much of a genuinely inclusive, humorous and down-to-earth political and knowledge leader he really was.  Jack Layton always took the time to see and share with the ordinary to make things extraordinary. To recognize the value of sharing our knowledge at all levels to make the world a better place.

Following Jack Layton’s inclusive leadership and humanity – do you take a few minutes each day to mobilize knowledge?  If you do, you will discover a great benefit – your own “ordinary” or everyday knowledge will begin to make a difference for other “everyday” people. Little snippets of your own personal knowledge that previously went unnoticed or you feel might not have any benefit will begin to make a difference to others – and begin to change the world – even in some small way. You’ll be more easily satisfied, and happier all around. Rather than focusing on what’s wrong with our world, you’ll find yourself thinking about and more fully aware of how we might create greater social benefit. That is what knowledg mobilization is all about – and that is what Jack Layton’s final message is all about. The world won’t change overnight, but you’ll start to notice the little moments of your own knowledge mobilization can begin to make a difference if they stem from love, hope and optimism.

Jack Layton considered himself just an  “ordinary”  person and politician – but he was truly extraordinary – clearly the reason for such outpouring and grief over his death, and inspiration for the celebration of his life.  Jack saw that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the “ordinary” – with “everyday” knowledge – with the things that we see and experience each day.  What’s important is always sharing, mobilizing this ordinary and everyday knowledge for social benefit.

Life is in itself extraordinary.  We have been blessed with a lifetime of experiences and people and things, yet we are often afraid or too busy to take the time to share our own knowledge with others.  We always seem to be waiting for something “better” to happen or someone else to share “better” knowledge – when we can be knowledge mobilizers ourselves to make the world a better place.

Jack Layton’s letter has been called a manifesto of social democracy – urging each of us to make the world a better place. It truly is all up to you, how you choose to be a knowledge mobilizer – and how you choose to see the world, the people in it, and the knowledge that we’ve all been given.

The Knowledge Of Nature

Experiencing the knowledge of nature and what nature can share with us is available to everyone – but most of us tend to forget this.  Pehaps it’s because many of us don’t take the time to learn from nature and make that knowledge our own – or for those of us who are city-dwellers – we have never been able to experience nature in all its natural settings.  The knowledge that nature can give each of us is calmness and inspiration that can  revive our energy and put our lives in perspective.  We  often take the knowledge of nature for granted and see it as something separate from us or something that needs constraining. But like constraining knowledge – it is bound for failure. It’s important to see nature as an integral and important part of our lives to learn from and value – just as there is always some value in the diversity of knowledge.  Constraining knowledge makes knowledge die as constraining nature leads to death.

When I was a teenager I used to be a boy scout and had the great privilege of regular weekend camping in a place that had a beautiful forest with a flowing creek and outlying farmlands only a few miles away from the city I lived in. I was taught the value and beauty of nature’s knowledge by a kind and gentle Scout Master named Simon DeWitt.  Scouter Simon can be considered one of nature’s knowledge brokers as the intermediary between nature’s lessons and children’s learning. Lord Baden Powell would have been very proud! When we would go hiking into the woods my life changed. Hiking in the woods became a profound place of listening to nature’s knowledge and appreciating the diversity of foliage and animal life that it held for each of us.  The towering trees I saw change through the seasons, the churning creek waters and the winding paths took me through beautiful moments of learning beyond the city I lived in. I experienced the variety of flowers and plants, frogs, deer, snakes, fish, birds – and even bears – and the cylce of life and death.

Those hiking experiences were great gifts to me because I learned from the knowledge of my Scout Master who was able to pass on to us boys the value and diversity of the world around us and the lessons that nature can teach us.  I was able to escape from the noise and pollution of cars and concrete to enjoy the peace and purpose of the knowledge of nature.

Scouter Simon is long gone, but whenever I reflect back to those days of my youth and understanding I gained from the knowledge of nature, I still feel the tranquility and value of slowing down and taking in the peace and power of nature. Whenever I feel stressed or rushed in my day-to-day, fast-paced urban life, I think of the value and knowledge of nature that I gained from those childhood moments – and I put my own life and the lives of others in perspective and appreciation because of the knowledge of nature.

What’s KMbeing Been Up To???

For those of you who may have been wondering what I have been up to and why the lack of blog posts recently – apart from the usual 2 weeks summer vacation (cottage & NYC) – I have recently taken a new position as Executive Assistant, Business Services with KoboKobo is a global eBook retailer backed by Chapters/ Indigo Books & Music, REDgroup Retail, Cheung Kong Holdings, and other leaders in technology and retail.  Kobo believes consumers should be able to read any book, anytime, anywhere, and on the device of their choice.

It is this broad and inclusive approach to reading & sharing knowledge, stories & creativity that holds great appeal to me, and aligns with my own views about the value and inclusiveness of Knowledge Mobilization for the benefit of society.

Having just started with Kobo, much of my time has been spent on a learning curve and getting to know the new role and responsibilities. I have now moved into a weekly “9 to 5” schedule which doesn’t afford me the same amount of free time to dedicate to my KMbeing blog as in my previous capacity as a community-based and independent digital researcher.

For those dedicated KMbeing blog and twitter followers who continue to enjoy and share my blog and tweets – I thank you for your patience and continued following. 

I may not be able to blog post as frequently as I have in the past, yet I do hope to share something about Knowledge Mobilization (KMb) at least once a week in a weekly blog – and the importance of KMb for the benefit of society.

As always, I am KM “being” – maybe just not as frequently, but still just as strong in my beliefs about the value of Knowledge Mobilization for everyone.