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

Knowledge Mobilization for Social & Economic Innovation

CKF 14

Knowledge mobilization (KMb) is making research useful to society. As such KMb is a process that enables social innovation. Social innovation stems from KMb initiatives between community and academia that is moving beyond community engagement to partnerships that lead to more far-reaching ideas and strategies.

 “A Social Innovation is a novel solution to a social problem that is more effective, efficient, sustainable, or just than present solutions and for which the value created accrues primarily to society as a whole rather than private individuals.”

Stanford University Centre for Social Innovation

A social innovation addresses the triple bottom line of economic, social and environmental impacts. All of humanity is affected by economic, social and environmental impacts – not just a few people in a few different countries in this world.  Organizations like Social Innovation Generation (SIG: McConnell Family Foundation; MaRS Discovery District; The Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience and SIG@PLAN Institute) are working together to provide learning resources about creating conditions for social innovation.

Social innovation takes a systems approach to address social needs in an altruistic, collaborative and inclusive manner. Collaboration must occur among all sectors of society in order to create a fundamental shift in the development of social programs to cross the borders of societal gaps, create effective change and come closer to overcoming wicked problems. Sadly, the ongoing global struggle for human rights continues with each generation of our humanity and in each generation we perhaps come a few steps closer – and yet take so many unfortunate steps backwards – to become a better society and a better humanity.

This past week I attended Systems Change: Facing Canada’s toughest challenges presented as part of the MaRS Global Leadership series. The guest speaker was Joeri van den Steenhoven who presented on how we have transitioned into a knowledge society – specifically between the years 1969 to 1989.

Joeri specifically cited these years because in 1969 ARPANET (a military backed project within universities and the precursor to the Internet) established a link between the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and the Stanford Research Institute. In 1989 Tim Berners-Lee, an independent contractor at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) proposed a large hypertext database with typed links to overcome the problems of information and data sharing over the Internet by physicists from around the world (leading to the creation of the world-wide-web). Stemming from a government funded military project within academia the Internet has now emerged as a knowledge mobilization platform for all of society to participate in sharing knowledge and making research useful to society. This was reinforced at Joeri’s talk by a question from a 19 year old who referred to the Internet as his generation’s infrastructure.

Joeri states the emergence of the knowledge society will be our society’s legacy as it transforms how government policy change to address social needs starts to give voice to all sectors of society to develop solutions within and by society – not just for society.  Joeri suggests that social innovation enabled by those like MaRS Solutions Lab can lead to policy change that is more collaborative with all sectors of society at the systems level, and he thinks Canada’s toughest challenges facing systems issues are #1 the health system; #2 food; #3 the future of learning and work; and #4 the future of government.

Today knowledge mobilization provides opportunities for social innovation to emerge and address such systems level challenges. This important connection must be properly understood for social innovation to be implemented and for research to have any lasting impact.  With this in mind, the 2014 Canadian Knowledge Mobilization Forum (CKF14) will focus on “Putting Research to Work – economic and social innovations”. Following the success of previous Forums, CKF14 will examine the results of knowledge mobilization activities that lead to social and economic innovation for individuals, families, communities, businesses, non-profit organizations and international collaborative agencies.  It will be a valuable opportunity to present how knowledge mobilization is making research useful to society through social innovation. If you’re interested in creating social change through knowledge mobilization why not join us in June in Saskatoon!

7 responses to “Knowledge Mobilization for Social & Economic Innovation

  1. Pingback: Beyond Fragmented Research Knowledge | KMbeing

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