KMbeing

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

Tag Archives: collaboration

Missing Conferences 2015: UK & Canadian Knowledge Mobilization Forums

UK Forum Logo Cdn KMb Forum Logo

 

Sometimes missing conferences can’t be helped. Such is the case with two conferences this year – the 2nd annual UK Knowledge Mobilisation Forum in Edinburgh, Scotland (13-14 April, 2015); and the 4th annual Canadian Knowledge Mobilization Forum taking place this year in Montreal, Quebec (14-15 May, 2015). Despite the advance planning and my previous attendance and support, I just cannot make it to these conferences this year due to my new job at the Faculty of Graduate Studies and work commitments involved.

Although I am disappointed that I can’t attend, I wholeheartedly encourage anyone interested in learning about enhancing knowledge exchange or knowledge mobilization practice – including graduate students thinking about putting current or future research into practice with impact – to register and go.

You can be sure that I will be spending some time assessing what activities took place. For previous events, I have blogged about the UK KMb Forum here and here; the Cdn KMb Forum here and here; tweeted about the UK Forum here, here, and here, and the Cdn Forum here, here and here, including participating in a Speakers Corner here. I even wrote two reports for the previous Canadian KMb Forums – 2013 Cdn KMb Forum Report; 2014 Cdn KMb Forum Report. (Link here to see more about the 2014 UK KMb Forum Report).

I’m sure someone else will be taking notes this year on the presentations and discussions of topics and outcomes of conversations for a report, and I look forward to reviewing what transpired. I’m also looking forward to following up with the amazing organizers Cathy Howe (UK KMb Forum) and Peter Levesque (Cdn KMb Forum), and I hope to be involved again at future events.

So why should you attend (again – or for the first time) either or both of these KMb Forums? The UK and the Canadian KMb Forums are a continuum of engaged relationships that have developed out of previous events, and an opportunity to develop new partnerships and valuable multi-sector and international connections.

Last year’s participants at the inaugural UK KMb Forum, included a mix of individuals from government policy, economics and evaluation, health research, youth & criminal justice, cancer research, social investment, women’s health, prison & corrections, freelance writing, science, non-governmental organizations, knowledge management, families & relationships, pharmacy, along with a variety of university scholars, administrators and community organizations – an incredibly successful session that brought together a wide range of knowledge exchange all in one place at one event! I heard someone say that they had not heard of any other multi-sector conference like this ever taking place in the UK, as events always seem to be so “specialized” and discipline-specific.

Extending on last year’s theme of Making Connections Matter, the 2015 UK KMb Forum focuses on four key areas of such connections:

  • Making Connections Matter: Knowledge Producers – helping researchers connect with those who help turn research into practice and impact beyond just publication
  • Making Connections Matter: Knowledge Brokers – providing opportunities for brokers to share their learning and lived experiences with other brokers and a wider audience
  • Making Connections Matter: People Who Use Knowledge – enabling practitioners from a wide range of sectors to meet academics, researchers and policy makers
  • Making Connections Matter: People Who Want To See Knowledge Used – giving public service, third sector and industry workers a chance to tell their own stories to influence future research

Last year’s Canadian KMb Forum was also another successful interdisciplinary conference with attendees from a mix of sectors including health, academia, children & youth services, workplace safety, environment, addictions & mental health, education, disability services, business, agriculture, and childhood development. The theme of the 2015 Canadian KMb Forum is Creativity as Practice: Mobilizing Diverse Ways of Thinking. This year’s Canadian KMb Forum will emphasize how creativity is a necessary part of knowledge mobilization practice in order to build capacity and improvement for knowledge mobilization by engaging with researchers, practitioners, knowledge brokers, community members and policy makers in more creative ways to enable partnerships and collaboration.

Even though I can’t attend either of these valuable knowledge mobilization forums this year – if you’re interested in effective ways of exchanging knowledge and helping to make research useful to society you can be part of one or both of these important events that bring people together locally, nationally and internationally to establish connections and form new relationships that I have found continue to influence my own work in very important ways.

And of course, you may even get a chance to see KnowMo!

International Students As A Knowledge Mobilization Perspective

flags

Accepting international students offers universities and our local communities an opportunity to create benefit – not just financially – but also from a knowledge mobilization perspective.

While the underlying economic value of international students contributes to improving financial and graduate enrollment struggles for universities, there is also broader value and benefit that international students bring as part of knowledge mobilization efforts. According to the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE):

  • Canada ranks as the world’s 7th most popular destination for international students.
  • International student enrollment grew from 159,426 in 2003 to over 290,000 in 2013 – an 84% increase.
  • International students comprise 8% of the post-secondary student population in Canada.
  • Canada derives $8B annually from international student expenditures including tuition and living expenses.
  • The presence of international students created over 83,000 jobs and generated over than $291M in government revenue (2009).

These numbers stress the value of international students by financial benefits gained; however, the importance of the development of knowledge mobilization networks also draws on these numbers as international students exchange knowledge from their own cultures to our own – and in turn, bring back knowledge to exchange further around the world.

As an example, York University is Canada’s third largest university with approximately 55,000 students, 7,000 faculty and staff, and 260,000 alumni worldwide – with international students representing over 150 countries from around the world. York even has its own unit – York International – specifically designed to welcome and address the needs of international students studying at York. The Faculty of Graduate Studies at York is particularly focused on encouraging international graduate students. Such a breadth of knowledge networking opportunities from York alone provides valuable international perspectives that help shape and influence the lives of others on a global scale to make the research being done by international students – particularly graduate students – not only useful to our Canadian society but also to our greater society around the world.

Our domestic and foreign policy-makers can benefit from knowledge exchange opportunities that arise from potential, future world leaders through knowledge mobilization efforts being done by and for international students within our Canadian universities. The opportunities for Canadian universities to conduct research with broader impact is enhanced by incorporating knowledge mobilization strategies – particularly for international graduate students – by encouraging these students to research locally while thinking globally.

Knowledge mobilization is inherently about creating broader networks of knowledge exchange to make the world a better place. Drawing on the knowledge and skills of international students can create the potential for helping to overcome many of the wicked problems that all of us face on our planet. There are opportunities for benefit beyond our own borders that can contribute to a genuine shift in addressing socio-economic challenges when international students who have received a graduate degree in Canada return to their own countries around the world.

Although there is a definite financial benefit for struggling universities, obviously there are further advantages in exchanging knowledge on a broader, global-scale through knowledge mobilization. International students who study in Canada create ties and build trust and become future representatives in their home countries. They can bring back to their home countries the Canadian values of freedom, respect for cultural differences and a commitment to social justice. Welcoming international students to study in Canada and learn from these values – while also providing Canadian university students, staff and faculty an opportunity to learn from the values of other countries through knowledge exchange can transform our world. Seeing the value of universities investing in international students goes well beyond financial opportunities to long-term knowledge mobilization opportunities as the ultimate global community/campus collaboration.

 

The Knowledge Exchange Cycle

Communication

Knowledge mobilization (KMb) can be challenging. Constant meetings, conferences, workshops, articles, blogs, emails, text messages, questions, problem solving, stakeholder involvement – or lack thereof – and the ongoing cycle of sifting through information and data/information noise to gain knowledge can begin to feel like you are sinking in an infinitely vast ocean of opinions, beliefs, ideas and ideals, statistics, and research “evidence”. Once you gain knowledge of something and exchange further knowledge with others, new knowledge seems to appear to refute previous knowledge. One moment a research study suggests certain findings. The next, a new study seems to contradict those findings, requiring you to constantly re-examine your knowledge and the knowledge of others. A brief definition of knowledge mobilization is making knowledge (particularly research knowledge) useful to society. Let’s face it – sometimes it seems such never-ending knowledge contradictions are preventing us from making any knowledge useful to society.

Yet I’m optimistic! One of the most powerful and enduring lessons I have learned in my almost decade of promoting and supporting knowledge mobilization efforts is that the multitude of contexts, sources, findings and views aren’t necessarily keeping us from knowledge – this is knowledge: fluid knowledge. I’ve talked and written about this at length in person and in previous KMbeing blog posts, as well as in the papers and book chapter I co-authored.

The notion of looking at these “contradictions” of knowledge in a valuable way is one I feel bound to reiterate. Why? Because by adopting this approach to the fluidity of knowledge we can dramatically increase our opportunities for influencing policy-makers, clarify positions for various stakeholders, develop understanding and build trust within different environments, and forge meaningful relationships in various contexts of knowledge transfer and exchange as our knowledge continues to evolve.

In short, we can recognize that knowledge is never stagnant – or we can be stuck in knowledge silos. All we have to do is remember that each interaction – each knowledge exchange – is filled with unlimited and profound possibilities for impact. But remember, impact is also never stagnant. Impact occurs and is also transformed by new knowledge – the fluidity of knowledge.

Knowledge Exchange Cycle

So, how do we make each knowledge exchange count and not become inundated by the infinitely and often overwhelming bombardment of varying knowledge? By approaching each knowledge exchange practically and purposefully.

There are three components to each effective knowledge exchange. Combined, they form what I call a Knowledge Exchange Cycle. When you consider all three elements with one another, they can produce a powerfully productive approach to developing our own knowledge and advancing our collective knowledge. Simply remember these three elements in each interaction:

Speak & Listen Carefully

Put Knowledge in Context

and Transform Knowledge Collaboratively.

This funny video clip shows the importance of speaking and listening carefully, being open and paying attention to context.

 

 

Speak & Listen Carefully:  Speaking and listening carefully is the key to effective communication. But few people get it right. That’s because it takes meaningful practice and focus to connect with others, detect different meanings, recognize multiple perspectives, and determine what kind of knowledge is being exchanged. When you master being truly present in your communication, you can become an amazing speaker and – more importantly – an amazing listener. This means that when you’re not speaking you’re fully engaged, mindful of the moment and paying attention to the other people sharing their knowledge with determined focus. Remember, to give other people the space to be heard. Don’t become a constant speaker without also being a compassionate listener! The give and take of speaking and listening carefully also means asking for the knowledge “evidence” of others, and taking the time to understand the general benefit of the knowledge being exchanged. When you feel confident that you understand someone else’s knowledge, take a moment to briefly summarize to ensure you and others understand the knowledge being exchanged.

Put Knowledge In Context: Once you understand the essence of the knowledge being exchanged, you’re ready to put that knowledge in context to better understand how this knowledge is being used and understood in a particular (and often different) context. When you put knowledge in context people will be able to place the knowledge in circumstances that may not always fit within our own frameworks or social benefit. This requires some diplomacy. You need to be both responsive and adaptable. Determine the context by adjusting your approach and understanding of your own knowledge accordingly. The key is to be open to knowledge that may be different from your own to wholly grasp the applicability to your own context. It’s important to connect to their purpose and passion for the knowledge they exchange from the context in which they are situated to also connect it to the knowledge you provide. You may also need to show them how their knowledge is uniquely situated within their own environment in whatever drives them for benefit within their own society – while also anchoring their knowledge in an understanding of whatever drives you in your own knowledge that may be different. Whatever the situation, frame the knowledge exchange openly and speak from your heart. Let people know why their knowledge matters in connecting to your own knowledge to transform it by the next step.

Transform Knowledge Collaboratively: In this part of the knowledge exchange cycle you must show a desire to turn your knowledge (and sometimes differing knowledge) into action collaboratively. Knowledge exchange should ultimately be about making a difference in the world. Transform exchanged knowledge collaboratively! You spoke and listened carefully. You put knowledge in context. You need to continue to speak and listen carefully. Now you need to transform the knowledge exchanged collaboratively. And you need to continue to speak and listen carefully. Maybe you need to help them make a decision. Maybe you need to shift your thinking and look at your own knowledge differently. This is your chance to think about how you can advance knowledge – yours and others – into something useful – beyond individual contexts – yet also considering how to be adaptive within individual contexts.

As you engage in the Knowledge Exchange Cycle remind yourself of the risk in not speaking and listening carefully, not thinking about context, and not acting collaboratively. In order to not feel like you’re drowning in the vast ocean of knowledge exchange, all any of us can do is mindfully consider the knowledge shared by and with us in the moment. This Knowledge Exchange Cycle provides a framework for you to build knowledge relationships carefully, be open to and understand different contexts, and make and support ways to transform knowledge collaboratively – in every moment of knowledge exchange. In this sense, knowledge mobilization can be challenging. As someone who has used mindfulness meditation in my daily life for over 25 years, mindfulness is not always easy. And just like mindfulness meditation, with mindful knowledge exchange, the more you do it, the better and more efficient you will become.  I encourage you to keep the Knowledge Exchange Cycle in mind in your next knowledge encounter – you may find you are one step closer to transforming knowledge to make the world a better place.

 

 

Renewable, Transformable & Transformative Knowledge For A Better World

For a better world

Your knowledge is valuable when shared for social benefit – and always will be. Sharing your knowledge to make the world a better place allows you to look to the future with hope, allows you to see the possibilities and potential of this beautiful world we live in, rather than the limitations and impossibilities.

Knowledge is renewable, transformable and transformative if we nurture it. We must respect each other’s’ knowledge and allow each other space and respect to grow our knowledge together if it’s going to be of any benefit to anyone. When we share our knowledge and open ourselves up to the knowledge of others to try to live together on this planet we can lead this world into new beneficial knowledge and new situations that can open up new pages in this planet’s book of diversity that can be of benefit to us today and to future generations.

We’ll never know our true potential if we don’t allow ourselves to share our knowledge and travel further along together than we currently travel. We’ll never witness the richness of knowledge collaboration that may come into our lives if we never permit our shared knowledge to be a guiding force for our mental and physical and emotional efforts.

You have your knowledge. Value it and allow it to grow when shared with others, and do what you can to make knowledge a force of social benefit. Our knowledge is given to us for a reason, and that reason is not to keep us frustrated about our lack of fulfillment on this planet due to misunderstanding and hatred. Our knowledge is given to use for a reason, and that reason is to improve the lives of everyone on this planet with possibilities and potential. What are you doing to value your knowledge and share it for social benefit?

May The Knowledge Force Be With You

force

You have a strength, a knowledge force, a knowledge energy that can be shared with others; and because there is only one of you in all of time, your knowledge is unique. You bring to the world knowledge that is special and distinctive.  You are the only one of you that has ever existed, and the knowledge you share, the perspective you have to give is unlike any other person who has ever shared knowledge. Do you give yourself credit for this?

Do you spend any of your time trying to develop your knowledge? Do you try to learn new ways to share your knowledge force and continue to increase this knowledge energy that will help other people develop their own knowledge force and mobilize their knowledge energy to live their lives better, create social benefit and ultimately make the world a better place? This is what individual knowledge mobilization is all about.

It’s very important that we recognize and share our unique knowledge if we’re going to contribute to the world based on the knowledge we have developed in our own lives – no matter how little or how vast.  Each person’s knowledge contributes. It’s how we share this knowledge that makes the difference. Knowledge can be shared for good or harm.

We are all on knowledge-development journeys. Many people spend their lives trying to share their knowledge in exactly the same ways that they see others sharing knowledge, and they’re confused, discouraged or embarrassed when others don’t understand the uniqueness of each person’s knowledge force. Others may not understand this uniqueness but we must all remember that we each need to recognize that each of us has our own ways of contributing knowledge, ways that are exclusive to us and our life experiences.

Your knowledge force flows through you every day. How do you direct it? How do you translate this knowledge energy? What is the end-purpose of sharing your knowledge? How we share our knowledge is one of the most important aspects of who we are and who we become, and it’s completely up to us in how we share our knowledge and are open to the knowledge forces of others.

Knowledge Sharing Is Not Like A Tug-Of-War

tug of war

As Winston Churchill said, “Personally I am always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught.” Are you like Churchill when it comes to sharing knowledge? There are plenty of people who want to share their knowledge but are truly not open to knowledge being shared by other people. There are people who want to share their experiences and interests to learn things themselves, but dislike having someone else share their perspectives. I see these problems occurring when such people are not ready or willing to learn something new and are completely close-minded and unwilling to increase their own knowledge. Knowledge sharing is not like a tug-of-war.

Knowledge mobilization is a life-long and involved learning process that always requires personal action – either active action (which most people are willing to take to share what they know) or passive action (which means being open and willing to listen to what others have to say).

It’s almost impossible to go through life without increasing our knowledge. Although it would appear there are people who somehow manage to do this. I don’t think it’s because these people aren’t increasing their knowledge. I think it’s that such people are not turning their knowledge into action to make the world a better place. I find this a sad approach to life. It keeps us closed-minded, constricted in our thinking and stuck in a worldview that is outdated and limiting in the way we do things, see things and interact with other people.

Not being open to learning new knowledge is not wanting to make the world a better place. This doesn’t mean we always have to agree with every bit of knowledge shared. But even in not agreeing, the openness of how we approach such knowledge dialogues around these differences is an act of increasing knowledge in itself by learning differing points of view. When we approach these dialogues always with the intention of good and not harm we are engaging in knowledge mobilization.

Then there are those individuals who share knowledge who are conceited, haughty, self-righteous, egotistical, arrogant and quite frankly just annoying. How do we approach these individuals with a knowledge mobilization perspective? With both active action and with passive action.

Some of my most important moments of increasing knowledge have come from knowing when to push my own views a bit further but also knowing when to just listen without engaging in something that can turn into a waste of time and energy trying to change someone else’s view. This is learning to know when knowledge sharing can turn into something that can do more harm than good. Knowledge mobilization is about incorporating both active action and passive action. If a person is not ready or willing to learn new knowledge they will not be open to both types of active and passive action. Remember, knowledge mobilization is a life-long learning process. Some people may take a little longer than others. Learning to recognize this is also part of increasing knowledge.

Some of us don’t like being taught. I know that some of the greatest sources of increasing my own knowledge have come from being open to the differing perspectives of other people. If I close myself off to these differing perspectives I close myself off to increasing knowledge and making the world a better place.

Sharing The Knowledge Of Other Countries

countries

Your knowledge is to convey your own life experiences instead of judging others. Your knowledge is to improve yourself instead of criticizing others. Today, there are hundreds of different countries around the world. Among them there are developed countries, some are developing countries and some are undeveloped countries. Contexts are different and knowledge is different. Living circumstances, culture, material wealth and economies are different. Considering any other country to be lacking knowledge is foolish. All developed countries progressed through developing and sharing knowledge from earlier, more primitive stages. Criticizing other countries as lacking knowledge misses out on the knowledge they can share and the knowledge that can be shared with them to make all countries in this world better places to live in.

How Do You Value Your Own Knowledge?

value

Do you forget the knowledge you’ve shared with other people, and only remember the knowledge that other people have shared with you? Do you only think about your own knowledge as “weak” or “worthless”? Are you willing to see the value of your own knowledge as contributing something good in the world – knowledge that is stronger than “weak” and more valuable than “worthless”? Knowledge shared with the intention of good has value. When you share your knowledge with this intention you are making a difference.

Are there conditions to sharing our own knowledge? I think the answer to this question depends on how we value our own knowledge and why we share our own knowledge. If we see our own knowledge as being “worthless” or “not good enough” then we have placed a condition on our own knowledge sharing. But if we see our own knowledge sharing as an act of love for all humanity, an act of love for our planet, an act of love for future generations, an act of love from our own remarkable potential, then there must be more to our own personal knowledge than “weak” and “worthless”. There must be more to our own personal knowledge sharing than “not good enough” to share.

And if there is more to our own knowledge and sharing of this knowledge with the intention of making the world a better place for everyone then we must acknowledge that at the heart of knowledge sharing, at the heart of knowledge mobilization is love. If we are to share our knowledge we must share our knowledge with this in mind. Knowledge can be shared with the intention for good and knowledge can be shared with the intention for harm. If we share our own knowledge with the intention for good, if we share our own knowledge with kindness and compassion, being open-minded to learning from the diversity of others and the diversity of knowledge on this planet, we begin to see the world and knowledge sharing in a different and beneficial light.

When we start to see the inherent value of knowledge from all people we encounter on this planet we begin to see the knowledge of all people as contributing something good in the world. Yes, there are conditions to sharing our own knowledge than simply seeing whose knowledge is “better” than others and measuring individual knowledge against each other. That’s because every person’s knowledge is much more than “weak” or “worthless”. The big question is, how do you value your own knowledge?

Our Own Personal Knowledge Journeys

drop

Everyone has an opportunity to receive and discover new knowledge for ourselves when we share our own knowledge and are open to the knowledge of others. This knowledge journey is always a personal one that no one else can make for us. Our knowledge journey is created by a diversity of knowledge within this world with a continuing flow of knowledge sources that we can be connected to.

I’m always amazed at just how much knowledge the world has to share, yet how often many people overlook opportunities on a regular basis to make the world a better place simply by sharing knowledge. My attempts to develop my own knowledge from the gathered knowledge of others is always an ongoing journey. I have been able to discover and uncover knowledge in the most unexpected places with the most unexpected conversations that I open myself up to with others who may not always reflect my own sense of values or culture. Yet it’s precisely in these moments that knowledge is created. The bottom line is that when I’m open to the knowledge of others – even those that I may disagree with – my own knowledge is enhanced, changed and evolved.

As my years go by, I’ve also become more much aligned with my own sense of knowledge. When I am open to the knowledge of others and open to continuing to learn from others to enhance my own knowledge. I see that I have become less judgmental and I see the potential for knowledge sharing with people who I may not think have knowledge to share. I also see the world in a much more valuable and connected way.

We are all on our own knowledge journeys and must not be discouraged if some of our knowledge seems less “shinier” or “important” than others. Each of our knowledge journeys is about continuing to build the collective knowledge of our humanity together – whether it’s a drop of knowledge or a waterfall of knowledge, we are all contributing to the vast ocean of knowledge that all of us on this planet can share.

Sharing Knowledge Strengthens Understanding

???????????

Every act of knowledge sharing for social benefit creates new knowledge and strengthens understanding to make the world a better place.