KMbeing

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

Knowledge Mobilization An Act Of Thinking With Love

heart and brain

Knowledge mobilization without a conscience creates worthless and ineffective knowledge.

Knowledge mobilization without a heart creates empty and useless knowledge.

The best efforts to combat social problems (some referred to as wicked problems) always include both thinking  and action in doing something good for others and creating social benefit. This is what knowledge mobilization (KMb) is about – both thinking and action.  Yet there is also an underlying aspect to both thinking and action that is required for effective knowledge mobilization – love.

I often reflect on the thinking of one of Canada’s leading knowledge mobilizers, Peter Levesque – founder and Director of Canada’s Institute for Knowledge Mobilization – who considers knowledge mobilization at its deepest level “an act of love.” This is far from being some impractical ideal. The most fundamental reason for sharing and being open to other knowledge and experience stems from an openness to love.  Otherwise, knowledge becomes fragmented.

A recent newspaper article states “Hatred reaches terrifying level” and I can’t help but feel discouraged about the world we live in. Will we ever be able to combat social problems? Do we just give up?

Fortunately, there are many in this world who rise above the hatred and respond from a place of human love.  Whenever I discuss knowledge mobilization I continue to keep this fundamental struggle in mind between love & hate and its connection to thinking and action, yet it’s something that many working in the field of KMb may not consciously consider when doing KMb activities.

KMb is a participatory and inclusive way of knowledge collaboration between researchers and research users. I sometimes make the limited assumption that KMb activities are automatically accessible and useful to everyone. They are not.

This past week I attended Imagining Canada’s Future sponsored by SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council) in cities all across Canada.  At the event in Toronto, focusing on Mobilizing Inuit Cultural Heritage several presentations reiterated the continuing difficulty of Canada’s northern indigenous populations to gain broader access to something many of us take for granted to mobilize knowledge – the Internet. Although great efforts are being made for greater access, challenges still exist. And one of the presentations pointed out it’s not just about the indigenous populations in Canada but also around the world.

Even more concerning in our new knowledge economy is the fact that there are plenty of people who are still in need of the basic economic necessities of shelter, food, or clean water. Knowledge mobilization would seem of little use to them. However it’s through knowledge mobilization efforts that we can effectively create social change for greater benefit to address these basic needs.

When researchers inform and are open to being informed by multi-directional communication and knowledge that include those living in poverty or isolation, community agencies supporting them, government agencies and policymakers assisting them, advocates lobbying for them, as well as other university or community-based researchers studying and collaborating with them, the channels of knowledge mobilization are effectively opened and can contribute to greater value for all in society.

Everyone should have a voice in knowledge mobilization. Only when each voice has an opportunity to be heard and contribute to the process of solving these social problems will such problems be eliminated. KMb is about creating value – not just for some, but for everyone in every context.

When knowledge mobilization has a conscience and a heart everyone benefits.

Only then will the terrifying levels of hatred decrease.

The most important reason for sharing and being open to other knowledge and experience stems from an openness to love – and fundamentally, knowledge mobilization should be an act of thinking with love.

5 responses to “Knowledge Mobilization An Act Of Thinking With Love

  1. Melanie Barwick March 25, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    Gary, I would suggest it’s ‘connection’ rather than ‘love’. Not the same thing, but related.

  2. KMbeing March 25, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    Thanks for the comment Melanie. I have to disagree with you on this one.
    There are at least 14 different types of love:
    1) Infatuation – loving feelings towards a love object that are largely based upon fantasy and idealization (instead of experience). Often when partners get to know each other, infatuation diminishes.
    2) Romantic Love – An abiding love for a partner with whom you feel passion, attraction, caring and respect.
    3) Eros – a passionate love usually involving sexual feelings for a love interest.
    4) Companionate Love – feelings of warmth towards a friend, companion or partner with whom you love to spend time.
    5) Unconditional Love – A type of affection and caring that is so strong that you feel it consistently, regardless of what that other person does.
    6) Conditional Love – A love that requires specific action or conditions in order to be maintained. For example, at its extreme, a parent who gives very conditional love would only love a child who gets straight A’s, becomes a surgeon, has two children, isn’t gay, etc… The love is based on preconceived conditions and when they do not occur, the love is withdrawn.
    7) Puppy Love – An immature, innocent temporary crush on someone that you don’t know well.
    8) Maternal/Paternal Love – This term usually connotes love that is nurturing, accepting and protective given by parents, guardians or caregivers, usually preparing a child to be ready for the outside world. Again, in reality this type of love is not gender specific.
    9) “Soulmate” Love – This type of love is described as a love that has survived multiple life times. Not everyone believes in this concept (myself included).
    10) Spiritual/Divine Love – This type of love recognizes the “Divine light” in everyone and everything. Love is given to everyone as an act of a loving God – or whatever one wants to call God stemming from spiritual belief.
    11) Patriotric Love – This is love for the place you live, the place that were born or the country you live in. It is a type of loyalty and a special feeling of belonging that you attribute to that specific geographic location.
    12) Self-Love – This is a positive feeling that you have about who you are and what you deserve. It often is expressed by treating yourself well, respecting yourself, wanting yourself to be happy and expecting others to respect you too.
    13) Tough Love – This term is used to describe a love that is expressed by setting boundaries for the good of the other person. So for example, a parent, guardian, partner, family member or friend may intervene to send someone to rehab if the person they are concerned about is addicted to drugs, even if the addict does not want to go. Tough love is an act of love because it stems from a desire for their ultimate good and happiness.
    14) Humanistic Love – This term connotes having a feeling of love for your “neighbor” because all humanity – every person – is considered to be part of a larger family of human beings, asserting human dignity and capacity for fulfillment through reason and scientific method without any religious connection.

    It is this last Humanistic Love that I am referring to when I speak of Knowledge Mobilization as an act of thinking with love. I am not being idealistic or promoting some unrealistic idea in thinking that everyone can or will love everyone in this world, yet I do believe when more people approach the world with a more humanistic love than hatred and prejudice we can make some change for the better instead of giving into or contributing further to the hatred and prejudice that continues to exist in the world.

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