KMbeing

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

Tag Archives: future

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

crystal-ballMaking Connections Matter UK

It’s been just over a month since the UK Knowledge Mobilisation Forum took place in London on Feb 3rd & 4th 2014 with great success! The theme of the event was Making Connections Matter – which certainly lived up to its name.  Again, tremendous thanks goes to Nesta (National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts) for hosting the event that brought together about 60 attendees from across the UK.

Thanks again also to Cathy Howe who was an incredible conference coordinator and forum lead who helped facilitate genuine connections across a variety of sectors in an environment of sharing experiences and challenges.

During an evening dinner at one of the more social parts of the Forum, David Phipps from ResearchImpact brought out an imaginative crystal ball and asked the group to reflect on their knowledge mobilisation practice and/or research with the question:

“Where do you think the knowledge mobilisation field will be in 5 years?”

The responses ranged from optimism about greater global knowledge sharing and cross-discipline understanding to a more pessimistic view about the social struggles that will continue to obstruct work in knowledge mobilisation (KMb). Some responses mentioned hoped-for advancements in technology to make global knowledge mobilisation easier; while others thought the practice of KMb will become more well-known and routine.  There were even a couple of political comments concerning the future of Scotland and civilization!

The following are the answers from UK KMb Forum 2014 to that question:

  • I truly hope for stronger literature bridging theory & practice on KMb for research – at least some inspirational example that improves research impact or development
  • More active availability of evidence-based improvement packages that front-line practitioners can easily pick-up
  • Less government intervention in the KMb process and more community lead
  • In 5 years other people will know what I’m talking about when I talk about KMb
  • Celebrating our successes in building a more well-informed, scientifically-literate society
  • Knowledge sharing is considered valuable and is the default
  • The term KMb has died out – because it’s part of normal practice to exchange & share knowledge routinely
  • There will be a greater abundance of cross-domain knowledge transfer as the norm as the idea of knowledge ‘partners’ will be no more
  • We will bring our KMb uses more easily to political representatives to talk about our professional ambitions & standards
  • Everyone will understand the basics (of KMb). We will need more knowledge translation but we won’t need a bridge between academics and practice
  • People will have time to mobilise knowledge across sectors during their day jobs
  • There will be massive international connectivity across disciplines because of the growth of international growth in the marketplaces…even in developing countries
  • We will be telling success stories of impact/learning from future UK Forum events – we will have 2 meetings in Scotland! – and the networks created from them; Knowledge Mobilisation will be well respected, less jargonistic, better understood by those who claim to be knowledge mobilisers and by our partners/stakeholders/end-users/beneficiaries
  • Practitioners will be skilled assessors of evidence and often contribute to/guide the evidence base – and the same goes for people we service
  • In 5 years’ time streaming video around the globe will reliably work for more than 10 minutes at a time for greater knowledge mobilisation
  • Social technologies are embedded (not “new”) but something new we have anticipated is surprising us – in “not being new” the risk and opportunity around global voices of participation is managed and institutionalised and de-radicalised in knowledge mobilisation
  • Increased accessibility to social media for excluded groups for greater knowledge mobilisation
  • There will continue to be a strong demand for evidence to inform policy and decision making. The drives will be the realization of the cost of failure! “What works” is a strong force but “works” is a co-produced idea with brand values that define desirable outcomes and “impact”; seeing complexity, ambiguity & uncertainty as positive forces for innovation with greater creativity & “wiggle-room” in policies & decision making through adaptive management of evidence-based experimentation
  • Spaces to meet and exchange across sectors and disciplines is a routine part of professional practice as teams of knowledge brokers help create solutions to large scale challenges
  • Knowledge mobilisation will not just be confined to Canada and the UK – it will be worldwide! We will all be old pals by then
  • There will be more people trying to do change
  • Probably nothing! We’ve all decided it would be good to talk! We will still be worried about equity and power sharing as we continue to think it still to be all quite complicated but we won’t mind being paid while continuing to think about it though!
  • Scotland will not be represented  in the same way – unless it happens in that country!
  • What? – Civilization ends…Why? – Michael Gove, PM.

Knowledge Brokers – A Solution For Social Benefit

kmb-model-final

Thankfully, there are many Social Science and Humanities researchers today who imagine new possibilities to understand and improve social issues – ultimately it’s hoped to overcome some of the world’s wicked problems.

The Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences states the world needs “agile and well-rounded thinkers who can assess and adapt to change, analyze trends, communicate effectively, and consider the past to better prepare for the future.” These are people who think about social issues and benefits that go far beyond currently available resources, approaches and sectors.  Such researchers imagine new methods through knowledge mobilization (KMb) that produce evidence-informed results to create social benefit and change more holistically – even beyond the original research itself.

Sadly there are other researchers still stuck in the past using the same archaic research techniques that have worked for them for decades without any use or regard for knowledge mobilization (KMb). These “comfortable” researchers simply churn out results with the same limiting research methodologies – paper after paper, conference after conference. Similarly there are research institutions which churn out unengaged policy after unengaged policy.  Both institutions and researchers within them think this is sufficient enough for “social benefit and change” in today’s research world without any regard for the broader benefit to the world at large beyond their own limiting research circles.

For researchers adopting KMb approaches their research is informed by a wider range of multi-directional knowledge exchange. These KMb Social Science and Humanities researchers scale and scope knowledge as broadly and efficiently as one possibly can to include others in their research methods and knowledge translation – not just “professionals or colleagues”.

That’s where knowledge brokers come into the research process.  They bring in knowledge of networks. They bring in connections. They bring in understanding of new technologies for knowledge translation and exchange. They make sure that research ideas can be widely disseminated, evidence-informed from a variety of stakeholders, and then made openly available to society in the most effective manner in ways that bring wider benefit not just in the researcher’s realm but across sectors. Social Science and Humanities research is inherently broad in its social and human elements, stemming from many different contexts to help us understand our common social context of humanity.

Isn’t that the point of Social Science and Humanities research in the first place? To help us understand social issues in our own context and in other contexts, comparing and contrasting to somehow find solutions that can create the greatest research impact locally and ultimately globally?

There are some who still think it “idealistic” for researchers to make use of knowledge brokers as recently pointed out in a compelling blog. The blog suggests the possibility of cutting out knowledge brokers as a “cumbersome link to the chain of knowledge translation” by asking: “What if several researchers and decision makers met regularly to monitor and discuss ways of managing access to knowledge, to solve practical problems?”

What if I want to get from point A to point B without a map, a directional or transportation device or other resources to do so? Would simply wishing this to happen without the appropriate tools or resources make it happen? What about some of the obstacles that I might encounter along the way from point A to point B that might require new ways, inputs and detours to eventually get me to my destination?

Knowledge translation isn’t just linear A to B (researcher to decision maker).  This appears even more idealistic.  Knowledge brokerage is professional, intermediary support to guide as a map, tool or resource required to help traverse the structural issues around professional boundaries and organizational norms and environments of researchers, policy-makers and many other stakeholders. Cutting the knowledge broker link in the chain only destroys the strength of the chain and leaves incomplete loops in the intersecting circles.

One of the better definitions of a knowledge broker is from The in-between world of knowledge brokering by John Lomas that I mentioned in an earlier blog about the history of KMb. Knowledge brokers “link decision makers with researchers, facilitating their interaction so that they are able to better understand each other’s goals and professional cultures, influence each other’s work, forge new partnerships, and promote the use of research-based evidence in decision-making.” The irony of this often-quoted and important definition from Lomas is that this article – and many of the articles that continue to quote this definition – are still behind pay-walls and accessible only to “professionals” instead of being open-access. The 2007 article was forward thinking for researchers then and now about knowledge brokerage and KMb – yet it’s still stuck in the past using an old form of knowledge “translation” behind a research repository.

Together researchers and knowledge brokers create knowledge for social benefit with a variety of partners and stakeholders and create change that didn’t exist before. Together researchers and knowledge brokers broaden the research process that differs from research being done in the past.

However, as with all things, there are times when great research remains locked away on the shelf as policy makers decide which resources society “needs” to be allocated for the next big political game.  As illustrated in the model above, this is when governmental, corporate, academic and community leaders need to intersect and work together to help research organizations and society reorient themselves to recognize that what had been great research methodologies and translation/dissemination techniques for the last 20 or 30 years are no longer as effective for social benefit as they used to be.  Knowledge brokers are an important part of the solution for social benefit if researchers – especially Social Science and Humanities researchers – sincerely want to make the world a better place.

Thinking About Knowledge & The Future

future

The mind can move quickly beyond our prejudice and hatred out of the present moment to exchanging knowledge for everyone’s benefit. How is your mind controlling you and your knowledge? Are you limiting knowledge by letting negative thoughts control you in the here and now or are you expanding knowledge by thinking about the future beyond prejudice and hatred?

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?

What Type Of Knowledge Are We Exchanging For The Next Generations?

future generations

Share knowledge for social benefit. Always strive for good in your knowledge exchange and constantly think about sharing knowledge to make the world a better place. We know that the knowledge exchange of earlier generations provided benefits and improvements to our world. We owe to the efforts of earlier people with ideals of knowledge sharing for social benefit. Our earlier generations accomplished this for us. What type of knowledge are we exchanging for the next generations?

Past, Present and Future Knowledge

When we let the tensions between past and present knowledge – ‘traditional’ and ‘modern’ knowledge – cloud our thinking, we fail to see how knowledge develops, flows and changes. The process of knowledge incorporates the past, learns in the present and is always open to changes in the future.

The Dynamic Process Of Knowledge

Knowledge of the past can be helpful, but knowledge is a dynamic process of change – as we change (and of course we do over our lifetime) knowledge changes – every moment into the future.  We never know what’s around the corner. We never know when our own life will end. So, if I want to use my own knowledge in this life for good, it must resonate with feeling and integrity and value. But that value isn’t just for myself. Knowledge value comes from sharing knowledge for the benefit of others, and there’s only one way I can create knowledge value – by sharing my own knowledge and being open to new and diverse knowledge in the present.

I don’t want to live a life in which everything I do is automatic without thinking, questioning, wanting to know why and wanting to know more.  One of the things I love about the Internet and social media is being able to follow links to other links. I love connecting on Twitter to see and link to knowledge others have posted, or leaving comments and receiving comments on blogs – and always learning something new from someone else who has shared their experiences and their knowledge.  I never know where it might take me. We are fortunate to now live in a networked world with the ability to connect with diverse knowledge from around the world. What an amazing opportunity for knowledge growth and social benefit.

There’s always room for learning or changing our minds or ideas in the present moment, for the dynamic knowledge process is always changing our destination in life.  Our life journey is based on new knowledge and new ideas that we learn along the way.  Our knowledge in this moment is determined by our connecting with the knowledge of others.

If we can see each moment as an opportunity for knowledge connections we keep building upon our knowledge to make things better in our future.  If we make the choice to use knowledge in this life for good – especially through the process of knowledge mobilization (KMb) – new knowledge is developed for the benefit of all the people who live on this planet.

Knowledge Past, Present, Future

Knowledge is about learning from the past,  taking action in the present and hoping for the future.

Not Your Past Knowledge

You are not your past knowledge; you are your present & future knowledge.

Knowledge Past, Today, Future

Knowledge can’t go back and change yesterday – but it can make a difference for today and the future.