KMbeing

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

Tag Archives: Peter Levesque

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!

Using Storytelling As A Knowledge Mobilization Strategy

Storytelling

When people think about knowledge mobilization they often don’t think about storytelling. Storytelling can be seen as unsubstantiated fabrications or even devious. So how can storytelling play a part in making research useful to society? When the framework of narrative is used to convey research knowledge to research-user audiences.

Research suggests that storytelling is easier for a broader audience to comprehend – and more engaging. So why not use it as part of a knowledge mobilization strategy.

Knowledge requires action to be useful. Knowledge can be shared for benefit or harm. When knowledge is shared for benefit – particularly to broader audiences through storytelling – it becomes more useful. Active and engaging knowledge sharing for social benefit is more likely to create greater understanding between various sectors of society – and greater understanding leads to a more peaceful and civil society.

The challenge for researchers is to decide when and how storytelling can effectively be applied to help communicate their research to non-experts as part of knowledge mobilization efforts. Most people have an understanding of how to tell a story. However, many researchers disregard the power of narrative as a knowledge translation tool.

Sharing knowledge and being open to the knowledge of others (for both researchers and research-users) and listening to the knowledge of others to exchange knowledge on a regular basis is more likely to ensure that common ground can be found between differing views of knowledge – because the world is full of differing views. Having differing views isn’t a bad thing. It’s just that we need to try to continue to find common ground. Knowledge and practice develop together.

Storytelling has a certain structure that describes the cause-and-effect relationships between actions at a particular time that impact particular characters. Using narrative as a knowledge mobilization tool to convey research to a broader research-user audience does not depend on the content being conveyed – unlike the often narrowly-focused scientific communication that most researchers take.

A great example of the effective use of narratives as part of a knowledge mobilization strategy and social innovation platform comes from the Alberta Family Wellness Initiative (AFWI). Thanks to the Norlien Foundation, the Government of Alberta and other community stakeholders, AFWI is using video narratives to convey research being done to achieve better health and wellness outcomes for children and families. The work of AFWI focuses on the link between early childhood experiences and mental and physical health outcomes throughout life – knowing from neuroscience that what happens in early childhood can subsequently affect health and wellness outcomes later in life.

AFWI follows the early interdisciplinary work of The National Scientific Council on the Developing Child in the U.S. that engaged neuroscientists, psychologists, psychiatrists and pediatricians to present synthesized knowledge into working papers for use by non-expert audiences. Through a narrative project called “The Core Story of…” short storytelling videos were created to explain the science behind various research touching on early experiences, brain plasticity, children’s mental health, and the concept of toxic stress.

Videos include The Core Story of Brain Development that explains the science to non-expert, broader public audiences. Using a metaphor of the requirement for a strong foundation for a house, The Core Story of Brain Development narrative video explains the importance of creating a strong foundation for brain architecture in the early years of childhood development. A second metaphor of a serve and return in tennis was also included to stress the importance of a serve and return of interaction and mirroring engagement between infant and parent/caregiver for healthy brain development.

I think of another great storyteller, Peter Levesque, President of the Institute for Knowledge Mobilization who also uses story telling as a KMb tool. Peter points to digital storytelling as “one of the MOST important forms of knowledge mobilization available to community-based organizations and citizens”. Peter uses a specific example of Aboriginal storytelling combined with digital technology as an effective method for understanding context, and conveying these stories through social media.

Additional examples of using social media for great and effective digital storytelling can be found at MindYourMind and HomelessHub who use both YouTube and Twitter as knowledge mobilization tools.

Although such elaborate and more professional knowledge mobilization tools for social innovation have great research impact – such larger-scale storytelling projects are not always necessary for effective knowledge mobilization storytelling. Even more simplified versions of storytelling can have broader impact as I have shown in a few of my KMbeing blogs.

Research represents a meaningful unit of knowledge and can be difficult to translate from scientific evidence into other messages understood by the general public. In contrast, narrative forms can be more easily understood as research knowledge translation tools because storytelling derives meaning from the ongoing cause-and-effect relationship between actions at a particular time that, again, impact particular characters – and are therefore can create opportunities of greater understanding for broader research-user audiences.

As a knowledge mobilization blogger and as someone who strongly believes in the power of social media for knowledge mobilization, I see the combination of storytelling by researchers using social media to convey context as an essential knowledge mobilization tool. If you’re a researcher, how well are you incorporating this storytelling tool into your knowledge mobilization strategy?

Thanks for Putting Research to Work at The 2014 Canadian Knowledge Mobilization Forum

CKF 14

Another successful Canadian Knowledge Mobilization Forum took place on June 9th and 10th in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The theme of the 2014 Forum was Putting Research to Work: Social & Economic Innovations – and lived up to its name as an effective gathering of knowledge workers and learners who exchanged valuable ideas and visions of ways to put our knowledge into practice for social & economic benefit.

I was busy creating a draft of the final report – you can link to it here. (I also drafted last yea’rs report and you can view the 2013 report here).

Tremendous thanks again goes to Peter Levesque, CEO of Knowledge Mobilization Works and President of the non-profit Institute for Knowledge Mobilization – which is now the host organization and organizer of the Forum. Each year Peter’s drive and energy to bring together a wide-range of attendees from across Canada and around the world pays off. Thanks also to David Phipps, Executive Director of Research and Innovation Services at York University who worked with Peter to enlist the support of an extensive group of sponsors without whose generous support the forum could not take place.

David Phipps along with Amanda Clarke, Cathy Howe, Fleur McQueen Smith, Christine Provvidenza, Ashley Townley, Rick Riopelle and Bonnie Zink also deserve recognition for being on the planning committee to shape and guide the event.

A very special thanks goes to Colleen Christensen, Industrial Technology Advisor from the National Research Council who stepped up to the challenge of being this year’s Forum Chair. Colleen’s experience as a knowledge broker embedded in the practice of technology and innovation was an ideal person for this position. Colleen’s insight, comments and direction throughout the event helped keep the Forum running smoothly.

Many thanks to our Inspirational Speaker, Donald Nicholls, Director of the Department of Justice and Correctional Services with the Cree Regional Authority who spoke about using Knowledge to Create a Better Future for Cree Youth; our Experiential Speaker, Shauna Kingsnorth, Evidence to Care Lead & Clinical Study Investigator at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital who shared the success of the Evidence to Care program developed to mobilize childhood disability research into practice; our Leadership Speaker, Robert Haché, Vice-President of Research & Innovation at York University who presented a great example of building a culture of knowledge mobilization; and our Action Speaker, Michelle Gagnon, Vice-President of Norlien Foundation and Senior Program Manager of Alberta Family Wellness Initiative who shared a valuable example of how their innovation has helped build the foundation for healthier children, families and communities.

Special thanks also to Cathy Howe who travelled from London, U.K., and was this year’s Chair of the first UK Knowledge Mobilization Forum (helping the Canadian Forum branch out and build a growing international KMb community). Thanks to Cathy and the generous efforts of Sue Cragg who both helped facilitate and create genuine connections at our KMb Innovation and Value Creation World Cafés. (A complete bio of our speakers and facilitators can be found by following this link).

Most importantly, a huge thanks to all of the people who attended this year’s event. Each year the Canadian Knowledge Mobilization Forum builds on the momentum of previous years and we look forward to seeing you at next year’s Forum in Montreal!

Knowledge Mobilization, Storytelling & Tim Hortons Donuts

Gary since 1964

2014 marks the 50th anniversary of Tim Hortons Donuts and also my 50th birthday!  In thinking about this I remembered an earlier KMbeing blog post about storytelling as part of knowledge mobilization – and donuts!

In honour of both our 50 years I thought I’d repost with an update. 

 

Sharing knowledge by telling a story can make a presentation, blog or conversation more interesting. Why?

When I was five years old, I was hit by a car. I fractured my collar-bone and was unconscious for nearly 48 hours. Doctors feared that I would suffer brain damage due to the impact of hitting my head against the pavement after being thrown forward by the force of the car. Fortunately, I was wearing one of those Sherlock Holmes-style winter hats for kids that my mother thought looked so cute on me. Thankfully, the hat cushioned the blow. I recovered, but my skull – though healed – still has a fracture line that I can run my fingers along.

Sherlock Holmes hat     donuts

I blame free donuts at Tim Hortons as the reason why I was hit by a car – well it’s not Tim Hortons fault, but their donuts are soooo good!

I crossed the busy street because it was the grand opening of a Tim Hortons  – and I wanted free donuts. Being five years old, I wasn’t really paying attention to traffic and more to the opportunity for free donuts…and…bam…thrown in the air to land on the pavement into unconsciousness.

What’s interesting about this story is that you are more likely to be able to visualize this incident and remember the details of the story with its connection to free donuts because of an emotional connection you’ve made to the knowledge I’ve shared. You would probably be less likely to do so if I simply presented this story with a list of strict facts:

  • I was five years old
  • I was hit by a car
  • There were free donuts

Since the very first days of tribal story telling, exchanging knowledge through stories has been one of our most fundamental communication methods. We all enjoy a good story. Ask any teacher and they will tell you that using stories to share knowledge is a much more effective way of retaining what’s being told. There’s also a neurological reason for it as well. When we are given information, the language processing parts in our brain are activated. When we hear a story many more parts of the brain respond. When a person shares knowledge through a story we connect intellectually and emotionally.

Sharing knowledge through storytelling is still very much a part of Aboriginal culture. I was reminded of this while thinking about a Knowledge Mobilization event I attended last year which focused on marginalized populations. Knowledge mobilization is about breaking down barriers and engaging with various groups in our society – including those that are homeless, of low-income, racialized minorities, Aboriginal (First Nations, Métis, Inuit), or from LGBT communities who are marginalized based on sexual orientation or gender diversity.

I have spoken about how I use social media – particularly Twitter – as an effective knowledge mobilization and storytelling tool and I am always surprised to hear that many knowledge mobilization leaders, knowledge brokers, scholars and educators are still not using social media as part of their own knowledge exchange work.

One of the more enjoyable presentations about knowledge mobilization and storytelling comes from David Phipps – a person who knows how to tell a great story and mobilize knowledge. One of David’s MobilizeThis! blogs is a great example of the power of story telling using social media for knowledge mobilization. In David’s engaging presentations he illustrates how understanding context is essential for effective knowledge mobilization – and how good storytelling can add to good knowledge exchange.

Fundamentally, Knowledge Exchange, Knowledge Mobilization, Translation, Implementation, K* (K-Star) – whatever you want to call it  – is about connecting the knowledge of PEOPLE. Each group has their own stories to tell in their own context – and each group can share knowledge through these stories. Knowledge doesn’t always have to be packaged in a formal, academic presentation or format. Sometimes simply being open-minded enough to listen to another person’s story – particularly those who are marginalized in our society – can be a powerful way of sharing and mobilizing knowledge.

But how do we engage marginalized populations using social media to better understand their context when some may not even have access to a computer? Or – more importantly – how can knowledge brokers collaborate with these often unheard voices and use social media for more effective knowledge mobilization?

One way that comes to mind is through digital storytelling.

I think of another great storyteller, Peter Levesque from Knowledge Mobilization Works, who also uses story telling as a KMb tool. Peter points to digital storytelling as “one of the MOST important forms of knowledge mobilization available to community-based organizations and citizens”. Peter uses a specific example of Aboriginal storytelling combined with digital technology as an effective method for understanding context, and conveying these stories through social media.

Additional examples of using social media for great and effective digital storytelling can be found at MindYourMind and HomelessHub who use both YouTube  and Twitter as knowledge mobilization tools.

As someone who strongly believes in the power of social media for knowledge mobilization, I see the combination of storytelling by marginalized communities using social media to convey context as an essential knowledge mobilization tool. If you’re a knowledge broker, scholar or educator – how well are you incorporating this equity tool into your knowledge mobilization strategy?

Now, for some reason…I feel like having a donut!

Gary 50 years

Storytelling, Social Media, Equity, Knowledge Mobilization & Donuts!

storytelling

Sharing knowledge by telling a story can make a presentation, blog or conversation more interesting. Why?

When I was five years old, I was hit by a car. I fractured my collar-bone and was unconscious for nearly 48 hours. Doctors feared that I would suffer brain damage due to the impact of hitting my head against the pavement after being thrown forward by the force of the car. Fortunately, I was wearing one of those Sherlock Holmes-style winter hats for kids that my mother thought looked so cute on me. Thankfully, the hat cushioned the blow. I recovered, but my skull – though healed – still has a fracture line that I can run my fingers along.

Sherlock Holmes hat     donuts

I blame free donuts as the reason why I was hit by a car.

I crossed the busy street because it was the grand opening of a donuts shop – and I wanted free donuts. Being five years old, I wasn’t really paying attention to traffic and more to the opportunity for free donuts…and…bam…thrown in the air to land on the pavement into unconsciousness.

What’s interesting about this story is that you are more likely to be able to visualize this incident and remember the details of the story with its connection to free donuts because of an emotional connection you’ve made to the knowledge I’ve shared. You would probably be less likely to do so if I simply presented this story with a list of strict facts:

  • I was five years old
  • I was hit by a car
  • There were free donuts

Since the very first days of tribal story telling, exchanging knowledge through stories has been one of our most fundamental communication methods. We all enjoy a good story. Ask any teacher and they will tell you that using stories to share knowledge is a much more effective way of retaining what’s being told. There’s also a neurological reason for it as well. When we are given information, the language processing parts in our brain are activated. When we hear a story many more parts of the brain respond. When a person shares knowledge through a story we connect intellectually and emotionally.

Sharing knowledge through storytelling is still very much a part of Aboriginal culture. I was reminded of this at a three-day Knowledge Exchange (KE) Training event this past week attended by Regional KE leaders and team members from across the province of Ontario. Day one of the KE training focused on marginalized populations and how to engage with these various groups, such as those that are homeless, of low-income, racialized minorities, Aboriginal (First Nations, Métis, Inuit), or from LGBT communities who are marginalized based on sexual orientation or gender diversity. A session focusing on the use of the Health Equity Impact Assessment Tool (HEIA) presented how this tool can be used to identify and address potential unintended health impacts (positive or negative) when developing a policy, program or initiative with specific population groups.

I can certainly see the potential of incorporating HEIA into a knowledge mobilization (KMb) strategy as it helps us better understand context and equity. Yet, a broader and still underused knowledge mobilization tool to include the knowledge of marginalized populations is social media.

At the KE Training Event, I spoke with several knowledge brokers about how I use social media – particularly Twitter – as an effective knowledge mobilization tool. I was surprised to hear that many knowledge exchange leaders at the event are still not using social media as part of their own knowledge exchange work. Certainly, EENet, the Evidence Exchange Network is one step forward in using social media as a knowledge exchange tool. Yet, as I wrote in an earlier blog, the greater potential of using Twitter as a knowledge mobilization tool is still not clearly understood.

One of the more enjoyable presentations of the KE Training event was from closing keynote speaker David Phipps – a person who knows how to tell a great story to share knowledge. One of David’s MobilizeThis! blogs is a great example of the power of story telling using social media for knowledge mobilization. In David’s engaging presentation, he illustrated how understanding context is essential for effective knowledge mobilization.

Fundamentally, Knowledge Exchange, Knowledge Mobilization, Translation, Implementation, K* (K-Star) – whatever you want to call it  – is about connecting the knowledge of PEOPLE. Each group has their own stories to tell in their own context – and each group can share knowledge through these stories. Knowledge doesn’t always have to be packaged in a formal, academic presentation or format. Sometimes simply being open-minded enough to listen to another person’s story – particularly those who are marginalized in our society – can be a powerful way of sharing and mobilizing knowledge.

But how do we engage marginalized populations using social media to better understand their context when some may not even have access to a computer? Or – more importantly – how can knowledge brokers collaborate with these often unheard voices and use social media for more effective knowledge mobilization?

One way that comes to mind is through digital storytelling.

I think of another great storyteller, Peter Levesque from Knowledge Mobilization Works, who also uses story telling as a KMb tool. Peter points to digital storytelling as “one of the MOST important forms of knowledge mobilization available to community-based organizations and citizens”. Peter uses a specific example of Aboriginal storytelling combined with digital technology as an effective method for understanding context, and conveying these stories through social media.

Additional examples of using social media for great and effective digital storytelling can be found at MindYourMind and HomelessHub who use both YouTube  and Twitter as knowledge mobilization tools.

As someone who strongly believes in the power of social media for knowledge mobilization, I see the combination of storytelling by marginalized communities using social media to convey context as an essential knowledge mobilization tool. If you’re a knowledge broker – how well are you incorporating this equity tool into your knowledge mobilization strategy?

Now, for some reason…I feel like having a donut!

KMbeing.com Named Among Top Knowledge Mobilization Influencers In Canada

Gary Myers (KMbeing.com)

It’s with great appreciation and pleasure that my KMbeing website and twitter feeds (KMbeing) were named among the top five Knowledge Mobilization (KMb) influencers in Canada.  I am truly humbled and honoured by this recognition. Much thanks to my many dedicated KMbeing blog readers and KMbeing twitter followers.  Although my recent posts have been fewer than usual due to recent time constraints, this recognition makes me realize the importance of ramping up again with more frequent blog & twitter postings to continue spreading the word of Knowledge Mobilization for social benefit. Thanks again to my KMb peers and followers – and I hope you will continue to spread the word of KMb and KMbeing!

The following article appeared in York University’s YFile on September 28, 2011 and is reposted.

David Phipps, director of York’s Research Services and Knowledge Exchange, has been named the most influential knowledge broker in Canada, according to a report by Knowledge Mobilization Works, a consulting and training company based in Ottawa.

The Canadian Knowledge Mobilization 100, a survey run by Knowledge Mobilization Works, asked respondents to rank the biggest influences of their knowledge mobilization practice. Phipps, who leads York’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit and ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche, Canada’s knowledge mobilization network, topped the list.

                        Left: David Phipps

Also mentioned among the top influencers in Canada were Peter Levesque (Knowledge Mobilization Works), Melanie Barwick (Hospital for Sick Children), Ben Levin (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education) and Gary Myers (KMbeing.com).  The survey collected responses from Jan. 5 to June 15, and results were released by Knowledge Mobilization Works on Monday (26 Sept 2011).

“Knowledge mobilization is a key element of York’s research outreach strategy,” said Robert Haché, York’s vice-president research & innovation. “Through David’s efforts and leadership, York’s excellent reputation as a leading knowledge mobilization university in Canada continues to be strengthened. This recognition by his peers is well deserved.”

York piloted institutional knowledge mobilization in 2005 under a grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Since then, York has grown its knowledge mobilization collaboration with the University of Victoria to include the other four ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche universities: Memorial University of Newfoundland & Labrador, Université du Québec à Montréal, University of Guelph and University of Saskatchewan. York also works closely with the United Way of York Region to deliver knowledge mobilization services to the York Region community, municipal and regional agencies.

Knowledge mobilization is a suite of services that connect university research and expertise to government and community agencies so that research can help these organizations make better informed decisions about public policy and social services. Knowledge mobilization is a process that results in social innovation.

“Knowledge mobilization has become very important for Canada,” said Steven Gaetz, professor in the Faculty of Education who leads both the Canadian Homelessness Research Network and the Homeless Hub. “David’s work and that of the knowledge mobilization unit is very helpful to those of us seeking to make research accessible to policy makers.”

Levesque, president and CEO of Knowledge Mobilization Works, undertook the survey to obtain a snapshot of who people see as influential in their knowledge mobilization practice in Canada.

“We think that knowledge mobilization as a concept and as a practice is growing. We think that we have barely scratched the surface of understanding what influences knowledge mobilization practice,” said Levesque.

Founded in January 2007, Knowledge Mobilization Works supports individuals and organizations to create incentives and infrastructure for knowledge mobilization.

For more information on York’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit contact Michael Johnny, manager, Knowledge Mobilization at ext. 88876. (Michael Johnny has also been featured on KMbeing.com)

To view the results of the survey, click here.

Assessing Research Impact

For those of you who follow me on my KMbeing Twitter feed, you may have noticed a flurry of tweeting yesterday afternoon – June 17th, 2011.  My fingers were furiously flying on my laptop as I live-tweeted a presentation by Sandra Nutley, Professor of Public Policy and Management at the University of Edinburgh. She is also Director of the Research Unit for Research Utilisation (RURU) which investigates the use of social science research in public policy and service delivery settings.


Those of us in the Knowledge Mobilization field consider Sandra Nutley to be somewhat of a KMb celebrity. She along with Isabel Walter and Huw Davies wrote the highly-influential and important book Using Evidence: How research can inform public services. (She actually has KTE/KMb groupies who ask her to sign their copy of the book!  Thanks for your signature Sandra! )

Professor Nutley was addressing the Ontario KTE (Knowledge Transfer & Exchange) Community of Practice (CoP) (of which I am a member). I had the opportunity and privilege to mobilize some of her knowledge on Twitter as she presented on the topic Assessing impact of research & Knowledge Transfer & Exchange (KTE) activities. (KTE is another word used to describe the formal process of Knowledge Mobilization (KMb) –  I make the distinction between formal and informal or macro & micro KMb as well as the differences in use of terminology).

It was also a privilege to meet informally for dinner with Sandra after her talk, along with my husband and KMb partner David Phipps from ResearchImpact at York University (@researchimpact on Twitter), and Sarah Morton (@sasmort on Twitter),  Co-Director at the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships (CRFR) at The University of Edinburgh (@CRFRtweets on Twitter).  I also live-tweeted a presentation by Sandra on June 6th, 2011 titled Research Use in Different Contexts. You can expect an upcoming Mobilize This! blog from ResearchImpact on this event soon.

Sandra Nutley began by asking the important question Why assess research impact? Using a forward tracking and back tracking approach, Nutley pointed out the common reasons for the need to assess research impact such as addressing accountability, assuring value for money invested in research, setting priorities for research, assisting with learning and improving outcomes from research.

Within the scope of this forward/back tracking model are the various stakeholders that play a role in the research process: tracked back to ‘user’ communities – such as policymakers, practitioners, the media and other organizational use; while tracking forward with research stemming from either single studies, research programs or systematic reviews.

As part of an evaluation of research initiatives, Nutley reminded the group of the importance of their own KTE or KMb interventions (along with other centres) that play an important role in promoting research when assessing the impact of initiatives and increasing research use.

Nutley also pointed out two common methods used to assess the impact of research:

1: the “payback” model – which focuses more on the value gained from research

OR

2: the “mapping” model – which describes and maps networks and flows of knowledge and the effects of any interactions from research.

(Research Unit for Research Utilisation (RURU) at The University of Edinburgh)

Nutley went on to describe the work being done by RURU to assess research impact which focuses on KTE or KMb intervention types – specifically on the underlying mechanisms involved such as dissemination, interaction, social influence, facilitation, incentives & reinforcement. This created some valued discussion within the room with Peter Levesque, founder and managing Director of Knowledge Mobilization Works asking “how do we best distinguish between the complexity of the research environment & mechanisms used?”  Melanie Barwick, Health Systems Scientist from Sick Kids Hospital, suggested the use of the term mechanism doesn’t always take into consideration the audience or goal for sharing knowledge and is a limiting term.

The presentation continued with Professor Nutley pointing out some common challenges and methodological issues when assessing research impact such as the types and use of research being done, the timing of assessment, the importance of context, along with attribution and additionality to research, and the importance of getting away from linear models (which I have pointed out in a previous blog about the multi-directional flow of knowledge from context to context).

The floor was briefly turned over to Sarah Morton who described an emerging approach to address attribution in research using John Mayne’s work on contribution analysis.  Sarah has been actively involved in applying this approach to her own important and recognized research on families and relationships at CRFR. (I hope Sarah and Sandra will return to Canada to present further on this valuable “contribution” to knowledge mobilization).

Professor Nutley discussed the use of Erica Wimbush’s work on the Theory of Change to assess research impact, showing the direct and indirect control and influences on the process of research – from inputs, activities & outputs (direct control & influence) through the process of reach/engagement, reactions & capacity (direct influence) to ongoing practice, behavior change & end results (indirect influence) – all as external influences gradually increase along each stage of the process.  (Sandra Nutley’s slide presentation has been posted on the KTE CoP website).

Sandra Nutley’s interesting and engaging presentation concluded by emphasizing some generic features of effective KTE or KMb practices that RURU suggests applying to any research process.

Although these are valuable insights into effective knowledge mobilization, Nutley pointed out there is still much work to be done. She states we must move away from:

–Poor documentation and under-evaluated KTE (KMb) activities
–Studies that focus only on the instrumental use of research (see KMbeing blog on this)
–An assumption that research is used and applied mainly by individual practitioners
–Studies that result only in a now familiar listing of barriers and enablers, especially where these are the barriers/enablers experienced by individual practitioners
I always try to use my KMbeing blog to provoke and inspire deeper questions and thinking to break down some of  the barriers that Sandra Nutley has mentioned – barriers that also exist between academia & community.  It’s my hope that in some small way my KMbeing blog creates more inclusive, theoretical but simple and common approaches to our understanding of knowledge and knowledge mobilization (KMb) for the benefit of society. I also hope that by showcasing some of our great knowledge mobilizers (such as Sandra Nutley & Sarah Morton) – and the professional work they do – it will provide an opportunity to connect people who would not normally connect their knowledge in multi-directional ways across many sectors and communities.
(KMbeing Model of Knowledge Mobilization)
Many thanks to Sandra Nutley and Sarah Morton for a great presentations and for coming to Canada to speak to the KTE CoP on valuable approaches to research and KMb process.
Perhaps now it’s time to go out on Steve’s boat (Sandra’s husband) for a well-deserved rest back home in Scotland – if he gets it fixed up soon!

Featuring A Knowledge Mobilizer: Peter Levesque

Peter Levesque is the founder and Director of the Institute for Knowledge Mobilization and CEO of Knowledge Mobilization Works based in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  The Institute for Knowledge Mobilization is focused on serving a variety of clients in a variety of sectors.  Peter has over twelve years of experience working with governments, research institutes, and professional associations on issues of Knowledge Mobilization, including exchange, management, social media, transfer and translation.

Peter is recognized as a successful leader in promoting Knowledge Mobilization throughout North America.

His career has included serving as Deputy-Director of Knowledge Products and Mobilization at the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, as Knowledge Exchange Specialist at the Provincial Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, and as Chair of KMb at Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation.  His early career included success as an entrepreneur and community developer.

Peter is also an experienced speaker, facilitator, and writer on knowledge mobilization issues. He also has several informative YouTube videos relating to Knowledge Mobilization.

Peter is a Fellow at the British Columbia Law Institute at the University of British Columbia.  He has been appointed as an Associate Practitioner of Social Innovation at SIG at the University of Waterloo.  He is an appointed scholar at the Monieson Centre at the Business School at Queen’s University at Kingston.  Peter lectures at the Centre for Continuing Education at the University of Ottawa.

Other affiliations include the management committee of the Ontario Knowledge Transfer and Exchange Community of Practice, an advisor to: DIALOG network at the INRS in Montreal, IPinCH project at Simon Fraser University, Conversation Works, and reviewer for the journal CES4Health.

You can also follow Peter Levesque’s Knowledge Mobilization Institute blog here or on Twitter @peterlevesque.

I’m pleased to present him as part of my series Featuring A Knowledge Mobilizer.

Knowledge Mobilization With A Conscience

I recently read two short but thought-provoking pieces: 75+ Ways To Do Good With Social Media by Mashabel Assistant Features Editor Zachary Sniderman (on Twitter @zsniderman),

and a Twitter post and blog by Erika Harrison @eharrisondotorg: The Intellectual Value of Caring from The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Each reminded me (one through the power of social media; the other through intellectual caring) that the best efforts to combat social problems always include both thinking and action in doing something good for others. Knowledge Mobilization is a combination of both thinking and action.

Knowledge without a heart is empty and useless knowledge.

Knowledge Mobilization without a conscience is worthless and not effective.

Peter Levesque, Founder and Director of Knowledge Mobilization Works (on Twitter @peterlevesque) considers knowledge mobilization – at its deepest level – “an act of love”. This is far from being some pie-in-the-sky ideal. The most fundamental reason for sharing and being open to other knowledge and experience really stems from an openness to love. Now, I’m not saying everyone should participate in some big love-in, but Peter makes an important point.

On a more basic level, whenever I discuss Knowledge Mobilization (KMb) as a participatory and inclusive way of knowledge collaboration between researchers and research users, I often make the rather limited assumption that Knowledge Mobilization is automatically useful to everyone. Sadly, it is not. In our new knowledge economy, there are plenty of people who are still in need of the basic economic necessities of shelter, food, or clean water. Knowledge Mobilization would seem of little use to them. Fortunately, it is useful if knowledge is effectively mobilized.

Although those struggling may not concern themselves about or even know of KMb, Knowledge Mobilization is an effective means of informing policy makers – which in turn can help combat homelessness, hunger, and poor sanitation (even if those being helped may not actually be aware that the process of KMb is what helped them). So, KMb may not automatically be useful to everyone, but it is a way of bringing together researchers examining social problems with community agencies dealing directly with such issues in order to create effective social policies to overcome these issues.

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

I believe everyone should have a voice in knowledge mobilization; but not every voice will have something helpful to say. Never the less, only when each voice has an opportunity to be heard and can contribute to the process of solving these social problems will such problems be eliminated. KMb is about creating value – not just for some, but for everyone.

When Knowledge Mobilization has a conscience everyone benefits.

Knowledge Mobilization Works

(Gary Myers)

As a Digital Researcher, it is with great pleasure that I – along with fellow knowledge mobilizer David Yetman – join Peter Levesque, the managing Director of Knowledge Mobilization Works (KMbW).  David and I will be working with Peter as Associates continuing to bring greater awareness and value to knowledge mobilization nationally and internationally.

(David Yetman)

David’s deep thinking and work in public engagement, my research skills and interests in social media, along with both our community-university outreach experience brings a strong combination to Peter’s already proven leadership, community development and creative approaches to knowledge mobilization.

(Peter Levesque)

Working with Peter will help continue to provide innovative consulting and training services to organizations across Canada to improve their ability to use effective knowledge in their decision making.  As Peter continues to seek and select other skilled knowledge mobilizers to add to the KMbW network, I look forward to working with such a valuable team to develop and promote our clients interests in knowledge mobilization to make better decisions to produce better outcomes.