I recently attended a few events that helped promote the role of knowledge brokers, social innovation and the use of social media for Knowledge Mobilization (KMb). I joined my husband the Director of the Office of Research Services & Knowledge Exchange at York University, Dr. David Phipps – who is my life partner and KMb partner.
David and I were in the UK to attend Bridging The Gap Between Research, Policy And Practice – The importance of intermediaries (knowledge brokers) in producing research impact, sponsored by the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) Genomics Network.
David and Sarah Morton, Co-Director (Communication & Knowledge Exchange) at the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships (CRFR) were session presenters for What makes a good knowledge broker? Reflections on qualities and skills. They were also joined by Amanda Cooper from the Ontario Institute for the Study of Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto for the presentation What’s the point of Web 2.0 tools for knowledge brokers?
Both presentations sparked valuable conversation about the role of professional knowledge brokers and the importance of using social media tools for KMb. I did my part in promoting individual knowledge mobilization – particularly through the use of social media.
A further event was a cocktail reception at the Toronto residence of the British Consul General, Dr. Jonathan Dart where we met several British Consulate-General staff from Canada – including Shannon Jones, Associate for the Consultate’s Science & Innovation Network, and Trevor Novak, Director for UK Trade & Investment in Canada. We informally discussed social innovation and the role of social media – particularly Twitter – for promoting KMb and social innovation. Each of these events was an opportunity to connect with individuals on an international scale and present the importance of using social media tools for social benefit and policy change beyond individual borders.
David and I have often been referred to as a KMb “power-couple” – combining more of the brains (David) and more of the heart (me) of KMb. Don’t get me wrong – David has plenty of heart and I have plenty of brains, but David is the more practical and specific “do-er” of knowledge brokering – while my approach is the more philosophical and holistic “preach-er” – in our attempts to create social benefit through KMb to make the world a better place. Our at-home KMb conversations can sometimes be intense and intellectual and are probably rather different from the usual topics of most couples! Although I do not specifically have a paying career as a researcher or knowledge broker, I do my part in promoting the KMb “community & caring-dimension” through this KMbeing blog. That being said, I have contributed as a co-author on a KMb research paper Development and dissemination of clear language research summaries for university-based knowledge mobilization (in preparation), and an Intech Open Science book chapter Social Sciences: Theories & Practices titled Applying social sciences research for public benefit using knowledge mobilization and social media (ISBN 979-953-307-527-2 to be published in 2012). I also continue to attend various professional knowledge mobilization events. Not bad for someone who has a paying career in the hospitality industry! But this has always been one of my main points – we all have individual knowledge to share to make the world a better place regardless of credentialism or social status, and you don’t have to attend such professional events or publish papers to do your part in making the world a better place.
As many of my dedicated KMbeing blog followers know, my approach to knowledge mobilization is stressing the importance of including community–individual voices. This is done by the promotion of worldwide knowledge sharing for social benefit by embracing social media tools – such as Twitter – for social collaboration and innovation. It’s specifically the type of social media tool like Twitter that enables knowledge sharing to happen at the speed of a Tweet. We have only to look at this year’s Arab Spring uprising and the recent $300 million investment by Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal to see the significance that Twitter is beginning to play in the international, social and political arenas as a tool for knowledge sharing, influence and change.
My hope and intention is to change the culture of Knowledge Mobilization (KMb) to become much more strongly motivated to include all of the different voices of individual knowledge by the use of social media. Through the use of social media tools – such as Twitter and blogging (including my own KMbeing blog) – there is the possibility of changing values for all individuals worldwide to make the world a better place. When we start to see sharing our own individual knowledge with various countries and cultures through social media as an opportunity for social benefit we can begin to break down the barriers that stop new knowledge for social benefit from occurring. When we begin to share individual knowledge and ideas with other countries and cultures to overcome worldwide social problems through the use of social media tools we do begin to make the world a better place for everyone.
We are beginning to see the effects of a social media revolution that is – in my belief – a sign that heralds what we can achieve by sharing our knowledge for worldwide social benefit through social media. I’m not a scientist or a paid knowledge broker but I am interested in getting people all over the world involved in sharing individual knowledge to make the world a better place. We now live in a world where one can find online forums and other social media tools where we can share our individual knowledge in new ways that allow people to build a global village of social innovation and Knowledge Mobilization (KMb) for social benefit.
The worldwide culture of knowledge can be changed – even if you’re not a scientist or researcher – by being open to individual knowledge sharing through social media for worldwide social benefit. It’s my belief that the single most important thing we can do in knowledge sharing is continue to create general awareness among world populations by using social media tools for Knowledge Mobilization to create worldwide social benefit. It’s through that general awareness in our own individual knowledge communities that can inevitably lead all countries and cultures in the right direction – and it begins by simply talking to your friends and acquaintances in sharing your own knowledge and being open to the knowledge of others.
Just begin by asking them what knowledge they have to make the world a better place. Begin by raising awareness of the value of individual knowledge mobilization to create change for social benefit beyond the more formal world of granting agencies, funders, universities or government policy-makers. This can be done by learning to use social media tools such as Twitter for Knowledge Mobilization (KMb).
Not all of us have an opportunity or need to participate in more formal or professional KMb events that I’ve been able to attend. You can influence social benefit with your own individual knowledge by addressing some of the fundamental questions that can make the world a better place by sharing your individual knowledge with others and being open to the knowledge of others. We all have knowledge voices to share to make the world a better place. We all can begin to embrace the kinds of knowledge sharing which leads to new methods of addressing social problems (often referred to as wicked problems) and accelerate the process of social benefit worldwide by individual knowledge mobilization.
My hope is that we will embrace such individual knowledge mobilization for social benefit – with both brains and heart – and really see this as an opportunity to reinvent our ideas of knowledge to ultimately make the world a better place.