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

Monthly Archives: April 2013

Knowledge Can Be Used For Good Or Harm

pill person

We live in a complex social world where many different social forces contribute to the development and production of knowledge.  By combining our knowledge we may help produce a cure for an illness, but we may also contribute to the construction of a destructive new weapon or a new addictive drug. Knowledge can improve lives and knowledge can also destroy lives. Knowledge can be used for good or harm.  The moral purpose behind sharing knowledge is important, but the outcome of sharing knowledge can never be controlled or shaped by the original person sharing that knowledge. Should that stop us from sharing knowledge? Of course not. There are those who want to use knowledge as a weapon. Remember, anything can be used as a weapon.  But also remember, not sharing knowledge out of fear leads to ignorance. When you share knowledge, start with the intention of sharing knowledge for good and not harm.


Growing Your Own Tree Of Knowledge


I don’t want to die until I have fully shared my knowledge and refined the knowledge of others until even the tiniest seeds of knowledge exchange help grow a better world for everyone. Call it idealistic or impossible. I see it as a way of contributing to something better rather than to something that is fatalistic or ignorant in this world.

I believe in the idea that each of us has knowledge to share. It is how knowledge is shared that will always make a difference. Even the tiniest seeds of knowledge exchange can grow into tall trees, beautifully towering and majestic over the hurtful and hateful conditions that can wear us down on the ground. When we contribute to greater knowledge exchange we are contributing to the conditions that make the world a better place.

Whenever we share what we consider even the “insignificant” knowledge from the life experiences we were provided we can contribute something to the world that only we can contribute. When these unique seeds of knowledge are combined with the knowledge of others we grow and learn and develop further knowledge that becomes even more beneficial to the people who live in this world with me. Not just the people I know, but also the people I don’t know.

We will all die one day. Not knowing when or how. Each person wants to know they have somehow made a difference in life. Each person wants to know they have attempted to make a difference. We don’t have to change the world ourselves, but we can add something very valuable when we combine our knowledge with the knowledge of someone else to create greater understanding as the first steps to something even bigger and better beyond ourselves.

Start growing your own tree from the seeds of your own knowledge by sharing your knowledge with others and being open to the knowledge of others. You will see that the tiniest seeds of knowledge exchange can help grow a better world for everyone.

“Insignificant” Personal Acts Of Knowledge Sharing


Making the world a better place partly depends on “insignificant” personal acts of knowledge sharing.  The knowledge that you and I can share for social benefit may not make a spectacular splash in the great ocean of life, but even a tiny drop of knowledge sharing can send out ripples for social change.

Having Faith In Knowledge


Having faith is not necessarily about being religious. Having faith in knowledge is about living in the mystery of life, knowing that knowledge – like faith – is unique to each person. How this knowledge is shared for social benefit is the key to making the world a better place. Faith is not knowledge, but one can have faith in the power of knowledge to change the world.

Individual Knowledge Mobilization


As I move closer to 50 years of experiences and knowledge in my own life, I have come to realize that the greatest set-back to happiness in life is constantly struggling to be successful or popular.The greatest problems in life stem from seeking power and control – and ultimately it’s a lack of self-worth and value of one’s own knowledge and uniqueness (and accepting that of others) that sets back social benefit.

When we listen to the negative voices internally in our own heads and externally by others that call us worthless, unsuccessful or powerless we can see ourselves and the many individual experiences that have created our own unique individual knowledge as worthless. When this happens, we are ignoring all of the knowledge that we have gathered and have up to whatever point we are at in life…whatever age we are…and we forget the value of our own…

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3 Types of Knowledge


KMb (Knowledge Mobilization)

I recently read and enjoyed The Blog of Steve Schwartz: No One Knows What the F*** They’re Doing (or “The 3 Types of Knowledge”).  Schwartz humorously states there are 3 types of knowledge, “There’s the shit you know, the shit you know you don’t know, and the shit you don’t know you don’t know.” He even illustrates the categories using a simple pie chart:

Although this uncomplicated approach to knowledge may seem slightly vulgar or crude, it does bring up the importance of knowledge mobilization in helping to widen the first category. Schwartz rightly points out that there is a “disconnect” between the proportedgoal of education and experience and the actual goal of education and experience. Schwartz makes the bold statement that…

“Everyone is as Clueless as You, If Not More”

…and he’s right.  Which is why the more we share our…

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Knowledge From & Beyond Tragedy

Boston Marathon bombing

We all speak from our own knowledge that comes from our own personal experiences. No one has the right to force, compel or inflict knowledge that may be harmful to another person. Today, I write this blog with a heavy heart after another bombing attack in this world has killed and injured many of our innocent fellow human beings at yesterday’s Boston Marathon.

This broader view of knowledge mobilization in this KMbeing blog has always been about sharing knowledge for social benefit to make the world a better place. I still hold that knowledge mobilization helps make the world a better place – as I believe all people, from around the world, have knowledge to share from their own experiences.

It’s how this knowledge is shared – for good or harm – that makes the difference, just as it is with any attitude or actions we take. The decision is up to you. When we share our knowledge, exchange our knowledge, mobilize our knowledge and create new knowledge for good, we can and do make a difference – despite the continuing tragedies that inflict harm in our world.

What we learn from our experiences – including the tragic ones – and how we use this knowledge to teach each other and create new knowledge from each other is what makes the difference between making our world a better place or giving up hope and giving in to the terror and fear created by those who refuse to do so.

It can be discouraging when such a tragedy as the Boston Marathon bombing occurs, and continues to shake our trust in our fellow human beings, just as it can be discouraging when we do share our knowledge and feel like it’s being ignored. But we must remember that knowledge sharing, exchange and mobilization is not a one-way action, nor a one-time action. Knowledge mobilization is inherently multi-directional and multi-participatory – focused on change for good and not harm for everyone in this world as long as it takes.

Just as the many blood-stained flags from the many countries around the world represented the many people who came together in a spirit of friendly competition, strength and endurance to show our diversity – it also shows our common humanity.

When another senseless attack on innocent people occurs in our world and we become shaken again, shocked again, angered again – we begin to doubt, wondering what’s the point?

Yes, there are those who wish to do harm in this world, but we must always remember there are millions more who wish to help and heal. Just look at those brave and heroic individuals who ran to help those injured individuals right after the bombs went off instead of running the other way. We may not all have that type of bravery and heroism, but we can contribute to this type of goodness in our own way when we share our knowledge for good and not harm. We will never overcome those who tragically cause terror if we are never willing to make change by our own knowledge, our own actions in our own lives by learning to use our knowledge throughout this world together.

Call me idealistic if you want. I will continue to point to the broader and foundational message and reason for knowledge mobilization: to put our available knowledge from all sources and individuals on this planet into active service to benefit society – not just one society – but ultimately all human beings.

It’s not about religion. It’s not about race. It’s not about culture. It’s not about politics. It’s about knowledge mobilization to make the world a better place.

Knowledge Then As Now

The belief that having and exchanging knowledge greatly contributes to the advancement of civilization is argued to go back as far as the Greeks (Rich, 1979. Science Communication, 1, 6-30). From the early twentieth-century, one of the great fore-thinkers and contributors to the idea of relational behaviour and knowledge exchange is the French sociologist and social psychologist Gabriel Tarde. Among his theories, Tarde proposed a different way of looking at the social world, not from the perspective of the individual or the group, but from how products, acts and ideas (including knowledge) can be used to classify individuals or groups.

In a longtitudinal analysis paper, Carole Estabrooks  and colleagues have traced the historical development of the knowledge transfer field between 1945 and 2005 with an author co-citation analysis of over 5,000 scholarly articles. Their research shows limited citation before the 1960s. It’s not until the mid-1960s that a flourishing of the literature on knowledge transfer and knowledge utilization began, with the largest increase from 1995 to 2004. One of the most cited authors and contributors to the field is considered to be Everett Rogers.

It was Rogers who furthered Tarde’s “laws of imitation” in the 1962 book Diffusion of innovations. Rogers also identifies nine major disciplines in which research diffusion is most prominent: anthropology, early sociology, rural sociology, education, public health/medical sociology, communication, marketing, geography, general sociology, and a miscellaneous “other”.  Certainly, many of the members of the KTE CoP are included in these and equally diverse backgrounds. Evolving from diffusion of innovation, Rogers worked with colleagues G.M. Beal and Ronald Havelock to develop the term knowledge generation, exchange, and utilization to provide a more interactive understanding of the process of knowledge use, with a view that knowledge should be useful to society.

Estabrooks explains that knowledge transfer and knowledge utilization emerged as two new domains from the parent domain diffusion of innovation between 1975 and 1984. It’s not until 1992 that a new domain of knowledge utilization appears with the emergence of evidence-based medicine. More recently, knowledge mobilization has emerged to fill the void of the limitation of evidence-based medicine’s exclusion of theoretical or creative forms of knowledge. Other forms of knowledge include indigenous knowledge (such as narrative traditions) or informal knowledge that may influence a greater exchange of ideas leading to government and community policy-making.

It’s the more inclusive and multiple-contribution elements of knowledge mobilization that create greater opportunities to inform and enhance how knowledge is exchanged and co-produced today – especially today via social media. Knowledge mobilization stems from a long history – as far back as the Greeks – and continues to echo the view that exchanging knowledge continues to greatly contribute to the advancement of society – whether from dialogue in the Greek Acropolis to blogging or tweeting on the Internet.

A (Very Very) Brief History & Highlights Of Knowledge Mobilization In Canada


“To know and not to do is not to know”


If you’re reading this blog, chances are you’ve heard about Knowledge Mobilization (KMb), and know about all of the various terms used to describe elements of KMb, such as Knowledge Transfer, Knowledge Exchange or Knowledge Utilization. (For more information about terminology, please see my previous blog).

If not, here’s a little history lesson…

When considering a (very very) brief history and highlights of Knowledge Mobilization in Canada there are many individuals, institutions and agencies that have greatly contributed to developing KMb in Canada. This blog points out only a few of these that I consider knowledge beacons shining their bright lights on the still-emerging pavement of the KMb highway. This is not to exclude all of the many great practitioners and contributors who have also been influential in the development and process of KMb in Canada. My…

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Start With The Knowledge You Have

change the world

Remember, changing the world and harmful social conditions doesn’t depend on who you are or what you own – it depends mostly on the knowledge you share – whatever that knowledge is – if it’s intended for benefit and not for harm.  You change the world by using even the “limited” knowledge you have.  Start by being you with the knowledge you have…and keep going.