KMbeing

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

Monthly Archives: July 2014

Knowledge Mobilization & The Cure For Hatred

Hatred

Why is knowledge mobilization important to help overcome hatred in our world?

When I was a university student studying psychology the question of “why can’t we all just get along in this world?” frequently lingered under my attempts to understand our human condition through my studies. Although I did not pursue a career as a psychologist, my psychology degree continues to influence my knowledge mobilization work in helping make research useful to society. I still ask this question frequently whenever I see the daily news coverage of hatred and the world battlegrounds of war that continue to make headlines and wonder if what researchers call wicked problems of the world can ever be overcome.

It turns out that research is being done by a group of international researchers linking hatred to health by asking the research question:

Is there a cure for the disease of hatred?

In the trailer for the Captain America movie, senior S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford) states “To build a better world sometimes means tearing the old one down…and that makes enemies.” The teaser ends with a question from Falcon (Anthony Mackie), the first African-American superhero who asks Captain America, “How do we know the good guys from the bad guys?” to which Captain America replies, “If they’re shooting at you then they’re bad” (at 2:15 on the timer).

The movie captures the essence and complication for researchers and ourselves in trying to understand the basic question of why people hate. (Spoiler Alert) Supposed “good guy” agent Alexander Pierce plays one of the “bad guys” who wants to build “a better world” by tearing it down without a broader regard for everyone in the world and the diversity of human contexts and conditions that can breed hatred. Hatred does not always come from the supposed and stereo-typed “other” who lives on the other side of the world. Sadly, hatred is universal and in our own backyards. Researchers seeking to find the cure for the disease of hatred now understand that hatred needs to be approached from a variety of disciplines working cooperatively across sectors and borders on the problem as a universal health issue that – like any disease – can affect anyone.

The question “why can’t we all just get along in this world” isn’t new. Theologians, philosophers and social activists have been asking this question for centuries. It’s research looking at hatred and violence as a public health issue that has now taken on an interdisciplinary approach – which is at the heart of knowledge mobilization (KMb). KMb is about breaking down barriers to create deeper understanding in the varied contexts of our human condition by exchanging multi-directional knowledge across boundaries that define the diversity and commonality of our human condition.

The International Network for Hate Studies was founded in 2013 in Europe and hosted its first conference in 2014 in the UK.  The Canadian Knowledge Mobilisation Forum hosted its third conference in June 2014 in Saskatoon, and helped establish the first UK Knowledge Mobilization Forum in 2013. The value of incorporating a knowledge mobilization strategy into research (both community-based and academic) is now well-established for creating social improvement, implementation and innovation to make the world a better place.

Scientific discovery that includes knowledge mobilization can cause paradigm shifts in human thought, drive technological revolutions – and perhaps save humanity from the hatred that continues to paralyze all of us. In a previous KMbeing blog post I wrote that the best efforts to combat social problems always include both thinking and action in doing some good for others and creating social benefit…yet there is also an underlying aspect to both thinking and action that is required for effective knowledge mobilization – love.

Being able to appreciate the interdisciplinary nature of research by linking hatred to health and knowledge mobilization which includes the diversity and commonality of our human experiences will ultimately lead to greater scientific literacy and the development of personal skills to conquer hatred and violence. It doesn’t mean tearing down the world to know the “good” guys from the “bad” – it just means tearing down the universal human barriers that lead to understanding and stopping the hatred that can exist in every one of us.  Just as most people try to avoid getting a disease – perhaps someday no one will want to get the disease of hatred.

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask, “Why?”

Why

Increasing our knowledge requires us to ask questions. Most of the time, we ask the basic questions “what” and “how” to increase our knowledge – but the question at the heart of all knowledge is “why”.

The following is a deceptively simple story that speaks to how we acquire knowledge by requiring us to continue asking the question “why?” If you’ve ever heard a small child keep asking the question…”but why? over and over, after every answer you give…you know the importance of this question for gaining further knowledge.

This story is taken from Toward a Healthy Future: Second Report on the Health of Canadians

Why is Jason in the hospital? Because he has a bad infection in his leg.

But why does he have an infection? Because he has a cut on his leg and it got infected.

But why does he have a cut on his leg? Because he was playing in the junkyard next to his apartment building and there was some sharp, jagged steel there that he fell on.

But why was he playing in a junkyard? Because his neighborhood is kind of run down. A lot of kids play there and there is no one to supervise them.

But why does he live in that neighborhood? Because his parents can’t afford a nicer place to live.

But why can’t his parents afford a nicer place to live? Because his dad is unemployed and his mom is sick.

But why is his dad unemployed? Because he doesn’t have much education and he can’t find a job . But why . . .?”

In order for us to gain and increase our knowledge we must always be willing to ask why. This has an ongoing element. One answer will not always be enough. We must be continually searching for knowledge – even when we think we have all the answers. Most researchers know this as part of the replication of findings in the research process.

On the other hand, if all you do is ask questions you’re not advancing anyone’s knowledge. Knowledge is also about answers – but answers require focus. Which is why even focused answers require re-evaluation to include factors such as context, evolving circumstances, perspectives and new knowledge.

A locked-in view of knowledge that is never changing will remain limited knowledge. This is especially important for policy-makers in considering how to best serve society. Asking why? as part of effective knowledge mobilization also requires an openness to different perspectives, opinions and contexts – another important lesson for policy-makers.  When a child asks why, they ask to continue to learn and grow. When policy-makers ask why, they should be asking for the same reasons – as it should be for all of us.

When we limit our knowledge as something that cannot change, we limit ourselves. So, keep asking why with openness and you will continue to learn something new.

Asking The Question Again: Where Do You Think The Knowledge Mobilization Field Will Be In 5 Years?

KMb Crystal Ball

In March this year, shortly after the inaugural UK KMb Forum held in London in February, I wrote a blog post Where Do You Think The Knowledge Mobilization Field Will Be In 5 Years? Taking its cue from this post and this question posed by David Phipps to attendees at the UK Forum, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food (OMAFRA) and the University of Guelph asked this same question at their KTT (knowledge translation & transfer) event on April 15th.
 
According to Elin Gwyn, Research Analyst of the Research & Innovation Branch of OMAFRA, “we thought it would be a fun way to connect/link it to the question that was asked at the UK Knowledge Mobilisation Forum”. OMAFRA has now written a blog post with their responses received.  The following is that blog post with many thanks to Elin Gwyn for providing it.

Where will KTT be in 5 years?

by Elin Gwyn and Sara Fisher, July2th, 2014

On April 15th, 2014 we held the fourth annual knowledge exchange (or KTT) day, this year called the “Knowledge Share Fair”. Taking cues and expanding upon a concept at the UK Knowledge Mobilisation Forum held in London, England in February this year (https://kmbeing.com/2014/03/08/where-do-you-think-the-knowledge-mobilisation-field-will-be-in-5-years/) we started and ended our day by asking the participants “where do you think knowledge translation and transfer (KTT), aka knowledge mobilization, will be in 5 years?”

We thought it would be a neat idea to see how the answers were similar and differ across the pond. And to see what people in the KTT arena in Ontario see knowledge mobilization heading. We were really impressed by the scope, volume and diversity of the responses we received. Below are categorized lists of the answers that we received throughout the day. We welcome our readers to add their thoughts to this list and any new ideas they may have. How neat will it be to go back to this “capsule” in 5 years and see how accurate (or inaccurate) we are.

Here’s to 5 wonderful years ahead!

Where do you think the knowledge mobilization field will be in 5 years?

Approaches/techniques:

  • There will be much more personalization of “knowledge” available. People will be able to more easily access the info/knowledge they need, due to technology advances (which will aid in creation of personalized info, too.)
  • More sharing of best practices and less nitpicking re: terminology
  • Student presentations and academic research projects on KTT process, methods, capacity development approaches
  • Standards/Best practices
  • Plain language requirements in grant proposals
  • Research pull
  • Knowledge mobilization will only to expand and become incorporated – especially within education. This will hopefully prepare future generations as it is an important and relevant contribution to every industry.
  • Working collaboratively across disciplines/multiple fields to share co-created knowledge through innovative means and formats
  • More pull – more demand – will drive new methods
  • Still struggling with measuring impact of KTT
  • Help researchers find industrial partners
  • Consistent evaluation of all projects with early engagement of stakeholders to assist in defining and restating research goals
  • Precision in identification of research priorities by stakeholders
  • More user-focused research
  • Evaluations of various KTT approaches across various contexts to inform effective practice
  • An integrated process in all organizations, no matter what the discipline
  • An integrated process in all organizations, no matter what the discipline
  • KMb as part of accountability requirements for programs/institutions
  • Extensive engagement of various sectors in KMb
  • Public awareness of KMb and participation in KMb
  • KMb/KTT will be part of research projects throughout the process
  • Crowd sourcing research (with sharing of results, especially with crowds of funders)
  • Apart from blogs, having magazines, news articles/newspapers
  • Info getting out globally
  • Help in finding industrial partners: Research + Industry → KTT
  • Undergraduate/graduate mandatory hands-on classes on KTT
  • Granting/funding agencies that will monitor the impact of KTT from the research teams they funded
  • Integration between disciplines
  • It will be more interactive

People:

  • More people working in KTT
  • KTT brings people together
  • Student involvement in real world examples
  • Interdisciplinary conferences
  • Globalized
  • Farmer – first approaches on KTT from a new generation of farmers
  • More integration with community professional recognition
  • Employment – new faculty positions to represent more departments on campus – teaching, research, use
  • Growth in number of positions/roles specifically dedicated to KMb and to building capacity in KMb
  • It will have new audiences – urban farmers; new entrants to agricultural production; immigrant agricultural producers
  • Interdisciplinary sector conferences
  • We will have more degrees/certificates in KTT/KMb
  • Events that connect the research/academia with end users
  • More conferences

Technology:

  • Real-time technology
  • Greater use of social media to share knowledge/information in a faster, more widespread way
  • Social medial directed
  • Small e-communities and networks that share data with each other as knowledge brokers – that are connected to each other – e-community user groups
  • Electronic interactions between researchers and users
  • With more data on websites
  • Blogs and magazine articles – tweeting
  • User friendly apps
  • It will have new hardware and new software apps to utilize
  • Classified professional knowledge sharing website
  • End-user questions and challenges submitting blogs
  • Interactive user communication and evaluation links (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, radios)
  • Social media will continue to revolutionise communications and have an impact on KMb
  • Big data opportunities – i.e., Boston app to track potholes – Google trends to ID flu outbreaks
  • More immediate knowledge between farmers and stakeholders through apps
  • More mobile apps, more social networking sites involvement, workshops

Data Management:

  • Data mapping “window of opportunity”
  • Integrated/connected data
  • Intellectual property right – redefinition
  • Data management plans within research proposals
  • A clear map of the risks vs gains of open (data/development/gov’t.) in contrast with privatized/copyrighted data /info – especially as it affects public interest in food and agriculture
  • We are evolving to an information-based and -driven society. Society will then expect to have access to all sorts of data. The role of the KTT contact will be to respond to the needs of the individual in a user-defined yet collective manner
  • Continuing to work on open data as an issue
  • Publication of research results and data, and afterward evaluation by the public
  • Data acquisition process involves the use of robotics to capture data.

General:

  • Still some growing pains in terms of terminology, organization of approaches, etc., but best practices starting to solidify by this time and gain wider acceptance
  • More people who self-identify as doing this work, more numbers of this community of practice, more research on best practices completed
  • More awareness of the concept of KTT/KM in relevant communities
  • Improve society by increasing learning
  • Everywhere!
  • Virtual
  • Content oriented
  • In future, knowledge created in research will be translated and transformed to the public and end users quite fast rather than staying in published literature. Also, the research evaluation will be more emphasized and find a good place when defining new projects. Or perhaps a project successful completion will be assessed based on project evaluation and impact on end user rather than just scientific evaluations.
  • Terminology will matter less
  • KM/KTT, in 5 years, will not be a “discipline”. It will be a normal part of any good research program. It could be a project of subset too,
  • Trust and relationship building between researchers and users will continue to be a need
  • More funding!
  • KTT = more work for researchers with limited tools and know-how
  • KTT must be a 2-way bridge between researchers and users

How Do We Define Effective Impact Of Research Knowledge?

Impact

Impact can be defined as: a powerful or major influence or effect; a force or impression of one thing on another – or an economic, social or cultural change or benefit to the quality of life within society.

If we apply this to the potential impact of research – impact can be defined as a measurable change in policy, services or products. However, researchers don’t make policy, they usually don’t offer services, and they generally don’t produce products. It is government (public sector) who makes policy, community organizations (voluntary sector) who mostly deliver services, and industry (private sector) who create products. Researchers develop knowledge which can lead to impact, but remember that some research knowledge has no impact at all.

Impact is not measured by the production of knowledge alone. Impact is measured by the application of knowledge. Impact is measured not at the level of research knowledge-producer but at the level of the end-user.

An excellent framework demonstrating impact comes from the knowledge mobilization unit at York University. This framework, called The Co-Produced Pathway to Impact was developed by David Phipps, Executive Director, Research and Innovation Services at York University in collaboration with PREVNet (a Network of Centres of Excellence promoting research and KMb to prevent bullying).

To understand how impact is measured at the level of the end-user, it’s important to understand the beginning process of KMb that leads to social innovation.

How and What KMb

Knowledge mobilization (KMb) helps make research useful to society with the HOW of creating a shared space of collaboration between community and campus…that leads to the WHAT of social innovation.

Co-production to Impact

The shared space of collaboration creates the Co-Production of research knowledge leading to the Activity of knowledge Dissemination. The Output of KMb is the Uptake of this knowledge by the public, voluntary and private sectors to assess its value, leading to the Outcome of Implementation of the research knowledge. The measureable change in policy, services or products is the Impact. However, it is the on-going Co-Production through the process that leads to Impact.

The measure of effective impact is both social and economic, such as an increase in constructive public policy and services creating wider benefit for a full range of people, as well as the measure of competitive municipal, regional and national economic performance on a global scale.

From a healthcare perspective to enhance the quality of life, Alain Beaudet, President of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) makes it easy to understand the process of KMb to Impact in his message in CIHR’s recent five-year strategic plan:

“Ultimately, health research is about helping people to be healthier. But while there is one definitive destination (Impact), there are many paths to get there. It may be through the development of new and better ways to prevent, diagnose and treat disease, or promote population health. It may be through providing the evidence that supports the delivery of the health services Canadians need, when and where they need them. And it may be through the commercialization of a health research discovery to make a new product or service available in the marketplace.”

The social and economic impacts on health include the improvement of outcomes for patients, enhanced disease prevention, a change in healthcare practice that leads to greater public awareness of health risks and benefits, and constructive behavioural changes in such things as diet, exercise, habits and routines. This also includes having the costs of treatment or healthcare become more accessible and affordable as a result of changes in policy and practice.

Other social and economic impacts occur when there has been an influence on the development of policy (including a better understanding of policy) by providing services or products that shape legislation and change behaviour – including the development of personal and practical skills, as well as the on-going training of highly skilled people.

The challenge of creating effective impact is that impact is not something that happens quickly. Just as change takes time to achieve – so too, effective impact takes time.

As CIHR President, Alan Beaudet states, “there are many paths to get there” so effective impacts may occur more readily in some sectors or disciplines and not so much in others.

Impact may also change over time, so there is also a need for monitoring and re-evaluation.

There are also different contexts and diverse perspectives on what can be considered effective impact.

The bottom line of how to define effective impact of research knowledge is obviously the end result. Has there been an economic, social or cultural change or benefit to the quality of life within society? And has this change been scalable and sustainable to achieve wider benefit?

Ultimately, we need to be open to the possibility that impact is limited to different contexts (thank you PARIHS model) and can change based on new, emerging research knowledge, socio-economic shifts – and varying human behaviour – that creates a continuous cycle of co-produced pathways to impact every day.