KMbeing

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

Tag Archives: openness

Scaling Up Knowledge Mobilization Globally

peace

For the past decade I have been involved with people developing and working in the field of knowledge mobilization (KMb). I started this blog to provide greater understanding of why KMb is important in connecting diverse knowledge from a variety of disciplines, social sectors – both community and university – and even from various countries to make the world a better place. I intend to continue doing this. But I’ve been having concerns this past week – given the recent so-called terrorist attacks in Quebec and Ottawa. Homegrown terrorism and self-radicalization are now words more Canadians are becoming familiar with.

Under Canada’s Criminal Code, terrorism is defined as a violent act committed “in part for a political, religious or ideological purpose, objective or cause” with the intention of “intimidating the public, or a segment of the public, with regard to its security, including its economic security, or compelling a person, a government or a domestic or an international organization to do or to refrain from doing any act.”

In this I see the “dark side” of knowledge exchange for terrorism that is not connected with the reasons for knowledge exchange as I understand it. There is an important difference between knowledge exchange for radicalization and knowledge exchange for mobilization.

Radicalization has to do with knowledge exchange that brings about insecurity and danger – with knowledge that people acquire to intimidate, create fear and do terrorist acts. It results from social and political structures that do not guarantee human rights.

Knowledge mobilization has to do with knowledge exchange for goodwill or social benefit. It results from worthy attempts to create more useful and constructive knowledge in trying to overcome wicked problems and make the world a better place. It begins within our own communities and hopefully finds ways to scale up the benefits and impacts of knowledge exchange to effect positive change for greater worldwide benefit.

Can knowledge mobilization make a difference in the realization of human rights?

This is a question about our own personal commitments to human rights. Throughout my years in contributing to knowledge mobilization I have yearned for it to make the world a better place. I have hoped that my contributions might bring attention to how we can exchange knowledge to address the plight of the poor or the homeless, to the voices and knowledge of everyday people and so contribute to justice – not just in my own community but beyond.

In the world of research, knowledge mobilization is about making research useful to society. What about making research useful to all of our humanity?

Does knowledge mobilization actually offer something useful to poor or homeless people? Does knowledge mobilization actually help them? From a local perspective, I like to think so when I see the valuable efforts of organizations like The Homeless Hub or the United Way York Region that incorporate knowledge mobilization strategies into the work they do.

Many years ago I spent time working in a soup kitchen helping the poor, the homeless and the hungry. Yet over twenty-five years later there are still poor, homeless and hungry people. It makes me think of the biblical passage “there will never cease to be poor people.” While I don’t claim to be a religious person (I consider myself a humanist), I believe in justice for the poor and homeless by challenging the structures of our society that continue to deprive them of that justice and ignore human rights. I do believe that knowledge mobilization can make a difference, but in fact I also understand that knowledge mobilization can only offer a means of bringing extremes of ideologies, objectives or causes and knowledge closer together in attempts to work more cooperatively together.

My deeper concern is that current knowledge mobilization efforts only serve to relieve the more immediate and local socio-economic pressures rather than bring about more fundamental global changes. As a Canadian, in light of the closer-to-home radicalization that is occurring among our youth, it makes me realize that creating knowledge exchange more broadly worldwide can also influence some to adopt more radical belief systems instead of the type of knowledge exchange that brings more cooperative humanitarian efforts and approaches worldwide.

Are knowledge mobilization efforts making research useful and visible to society only in our local environments by creating the illusion of effective knowledge to action with strictly local impact? Have we created a culture of knowledge exchange only in social circles that bring change and benefit locally yet have normalized for us the destitution in developing and war-torn countries?

I was reminded of this with the recent Canadian media frenzy around homegrown terrorism and self- radicalization. Is the reason why some of our radicalized youth are willing to leave the safety and security of a country like Canada to fight in radicalized wars because we’re not doing enough to mobilize knowledge worldwide? What can bring us closer together in understanding and addressing the fundamental issues that affect all of us on this planet as collective human beings if not knowledge exchange?

How many of us promoting knowledge mobilization efforts – researchers, practitioners, clinicians, community organizers, business leaders, policy makers – end up feeling that our participation fulfills our local responsibilities to the poor, homeless, and those with mental health issues? We do our work in knowledge mobilization for a while, we see local social changes and benefits and it makes us feel good and we gain a sense of satisfaction. But in the process we risk forgetting about the greater global needs that continue to contribute to these wicked problems – even now in our own backyard – in the first place. It’s easy to lose sight of the fundamental reason why we do knowledge mobilization. It’s not just about making research useful to our own society – how about making research useful to all of humanity? How about exchanging knowledge to eliminate radicalized thinking? Is this even possible? Sadly, it takes an openness to want to exchange knowledge for this to happen.

People who incorporate knowledge mobilization strategies into their work do so as a response to local problems to help ensure that people in our communities have a voice and can exchange knowledge to create social benefit and policy change in the here and now. Perhaps it’s time we consider these strategies as appropriate solutions to greater worldwide problems. We can tout the fact that community-university knowledge exchange has replaced an ivory-tower entitlement to knowledge that has slowly toppled many of our knowledge silos but it doesn’t camouflage our greater worldwide problems. We still require even broader thinking and knowledge mobilization approaches if we are to eliminate radicalized forms of knowledge and create more cooperative knowledge to action worldwide.

If we are only busy mobilizing knowledge in our local systems who is going to do the time-consuming work of knowledge mobilization for social benefit for our human system?

It’s working with a variety of global stakeholders through knowledge mobilization in conjunction with policy makers that will motivate governments to act together locally, nationally and internationally to guarantee rights, to create or oversee programs that assure everyone adequate access to what they need on a broader scale. Government leaders need to take a more open approach to work together – not a more divided and oppositional approach – only this will bring about a complete human system change – if it’s even possible.

And what of knowledge mobilizers who work diligently on creating greater knowledge exchange? Knowledge exchange is necessary to create greater understanding, but sometimes knowledge exchange may cause harm if not done with openness.

We hear much talk these days about knowledge mobilization as a tool for dealing with social ills – working with policy makers to provide services to the needy. But while local knowledge mobilization strategies may play a role locally they cannot be a substitute for greater worldwide knowledge mobilization strategies.

As for local organizations providing for all the needs of the poor, the chances are even more remote. The magnitude of the problem requires something beyond any local actions. However, a recent report on homelessness in Canada by researcher Stephen Gaetz suggests that $46 more per Canadian per year can vastly cut homelessness in this country. Could this type of thinking be scaled up worldwide to address homelessness or even other social issues?

Perhaps, but I suggest the fundamental problem for the poor in our country and in our world is not homelessness or other wicked problems themselves – rather the problem is injustice. In promoting knowledge mobilization as cooperative efforts of knowledge exchange in our institutions and communities to create local policy change we think that distributing enough food, creating enough shelters or producing enough homes in our communities – that is, if we just treat the symptoms in our own communities we will have solved “the problem.” The problem is we haven’t solved the problem worldwide.

Unfortunately, injustice is deep-rooted in every society. It is the inevitable result of the structures within our communities – social, economic, political and religious that reinforce inequality and lead to extremism and radicalization. These are the structures that keep wicked problems alive.

Local knowledge mobilization strategies do little to change the wider social and political systems that sustain injustice. Even if we perceive the need for systemic change worldwide, we can do little beyond a few cooperative borders.
Knowledge exchange for social benefit within our own communities offends almost no one. Seeking justice beyond our own borders offends many.

I’m not suggesting we abandon knowledge mobilization efforts. In addition to establishing justice within our communities, broader knowledge mobilization efforts are both necessary in our own communities and a requirement within the broader global community. We need to start thinking about ways for knowledge mobilization strategies within organizations to support those who work for justice worldwide.

We must continue to engage with policymakers to think beyond our own borders to create worldwide knowledge mobilization efforts.

Working for justice worldwide is not an easy task. There are no quick fixes and the most common reason for abandoning efforts is discouragement due to a lack of openness from others who are radicalized in their thinking. But we have little choice. Within an unjust world there are limitations to knowledge exchange. We need to continue in our attempts to join others in every part of this planet in the struggle for justice for everyone. It is a fundamental requirement of our humanity.

Making Someone Else’s Life Better By Sharing Your Knowledge

make a difference

How do you make someone else’s life a little bit better by sharing knowledge and being open to the knowledge of others?

How you exchange your knowledge is your message to the world. Make sure it’s for social benefit and not harm.  Your knowledge becomes better when you make someone else’s life better by sharing knowledge and being open to the knowledge of others.

A Path To Knowledge Understanding

path together

When confused or frustrated by another person’s knowledge think of it as a path between two points of possibility to engage and learn. Keep walking down the path with openness and you will arrive at common understanding and potential to make the world a better place.

One Of The Most Important Things-Sharing Knowledge

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One of the most important things in the world is neither money nor social status but sharing knowledge. Knowledge mobilization fills the world with openness and potential for social benefit to make the world a better place. We should constantly seek opportunities to share knowledge and learn from the knowledge of others. A person who is open to the knowledge of others and open to sharing their own knowledge for social benefit is a person is who one of the happiest and wealthiest people in the world.

Exchanging our diverse knowledge in this world allows us to experience different meanings of life and gain value and insight into life itself through the act of sharing knowledge. Do you exchange knowledge or mobilize knowledge to contribute to greater happiness in life for ourselves and others? This is one of the most important objectives in this world.

May The Knowledge Force Be With You

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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.

Compassion Of Being Open To Knowledge Leads To Wisdom

wisdom

Human beings fear ridule of their knowledge. We worry that others might say that we are stupid, not as knowledgeable, our understanding is limited, or our talk isn’t clear and so on. The important thing to remember is that no one is perfect, so why should we be so concerned with how we share our knowledge as long as we are sharing our knowledge for social benefit and not harm.  If we can bring into our lives more openness and not be so critical of our own ability and value of sharing knowledge, then life is more fulfilling.

A person who knows how to be open with oneself and others has compassion and knowledge that leads to wisdom. When we encounter others and are open to them when they may not seem as knowledgeable but are still willing to share their knowledge we are actually showing compassion and kindness and making the world a better place.

Why should we be so concerned with how much knowledge a person has if we are all on our own personal knowledge journies to keep increasing our knowledge and the knowledge of others when we are open to mobilizing knowledge together?

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.

Without Sharing Knowledge There Is No Understanding

understanding

We live to seek understanding. Without sharing knowledge there is no understanding.  Where do we seek knowledge in life? Knowledge is found in beliefs and experiences – both personal and shared from others. As long as we share knowledge, understanding is within our lives. All of us seek understanding – to be understood and to understand others. Openness to others and the knowledge they have to share is the source of understanding.

Our interactions with others are opportunities for understanding and knowledge. We cannot live without knowledge. Knowledge brings liberation. If we are indifferent to others we are closed to understanding and further knowledge. We are then not free in life but chained by a lack of understanding. All people value sincerity and integrity. When our knowledge sharing with others is sincere and done with integrity, there is understanding.

How Do You Value Your Own Knowledge?

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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

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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.