KMbeing

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

Tag Archives: ResearchImpact

Increasing The Academic & Innovation Grade

Innovation 1

What is innovation? Is it simply coming up with a new idea; is it creating a new design or product; is it developing a new process?

In research terms, innovation is essentially linked to improvements in the application of knowledge towards advancements in science and technology. Knowledge mobilization is making research useful to society. As such, knowledge mobilization is a process that enables innovation that stems from research initiatives between community and academia that is moving beyond community engagement to partnerships that lead to more far-reaching ideas and strategies.

According to Stanford University Centre for Social Innovation:

“A social innovation is a novel solution to a social problem that is more effective, efficient, sustainable, or just than present solutions for which the value created accrues primarily to society as a whole rather than private individuals.”

The Conference Board of Canada defines innovation as:

“A process through which economic or social value is extracted from knowledge—through the creating, diffusing, and transforming of ideas—to produce new or improved products, services, processes, strategies, or capabilities.”

Despite the emerging influence of Canada in the knowledge mobilization field over the past decade, and the impact that university research has had by becoming more accessible and receptive to community partners – recent statistics still show that Canada remains near the bottom of countries with the highest development of successful innovation strategies.

While examples of Canada’s success in the knowledge mobilization field can be seen through the great collaborative work of a pan-university network such as ResearchImpact, why is there still a disconnect with greater successful innovation despite historic investments in Canadian research and development through knowledge mobilization?

Perhaps the answer is in the lack of initiative of the private-sector in working more closely with the public-sector as evidenced by the disappointing grades given to Business Enterprise R&D spending (“D”) compared to Public R&D spending (“B”).

Another key message put forth by the Conference Board of Canada is that Canada must perform at the cutting edge and attract the brightest students to careers in science and engineering or it will continue to fall behind our peers on this indicator.

In these particular areas, York University – part of the ResearchImpact network – continues to lead the way through its knowledge mobilization initiatives creating greater innovation by offering opportunities for graduate students to work more closely with business through research-funders like Mitacs, York’s entrepreneurship program Launch YU, and business mentoring with ventureLAB.

York University has also recently opened the Lassonde School of Engineering which was established, in the words of its Dean, Janusz Kozinsi, “to educate (a) new type of engineer — someone with an entrepreneurial spirit, a social conscience and a sense of global citizenship who is a highly-trained professional in their field and across many disciplines.”

Today, knowledge mobilization provides opportunities for innovation to continue to emerge and address the challenge of improving Canada’s performance on the innovation stage. We may still have a way to go on an international level to compete against other countries for more successful innovation; yet on a Canadian level York University is a clear example of taking the right steps to providing opportunities for future innovators such as graduate students – an example worth following to not only increase the academic grade but also the innovation grade.

 

 

 

 

21st Century Research: Interdisciplinary Scholarship & The Third Sector

volunteer

Researchers in the 21st century must now think about and become interested in cross-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary connections. Cross-sector and interdisciplinary scholarship are exactly what knowledge mobilization (KMb) is about – researchers networking across borders as an essential element of the research process to provide greater outreach and input for social benefit to make research useful to society.  Although knowledge mobilization can be a part of any academic discipline – it’s particularly true for social science and humanities research.

Research is no longer valued if it’s locked up in disciplinary silos or peer-reviewed journals. Research must now involve open-access cross-pollination with other sectors in academia and community that informs and is informed by policy-makers – taking place across a variety of organizational, public, business and government spaces.

Community is not just community-based researchers or practitioners. Community is also about what is often called the third sector – the sphere of social activity undertaken by voluntary organizations and public citizens that are not-for-profit and non-governmental. By including the third sector in the interdisciplinary border crossings without boundaries is a more inclusive and extensive way of being a boundary-spanner.

Being a boundary-spanner begins right at the beginning of any research career as graduate students embark on a future in research – as I wrote about in an earlier blog post. Graduate students have an excellent opportunity to initiate such connections by considering how their own research can have impact within the third sector, or even how they can become involved in the volunteer-sector while doing their own research. And many are already volunteering with recent statistics about volunteering in Canada showing 15-24 year olds representing the highest percentage of volunteers at 58%, and 35-44 year olds at a close second at 54%.

The idea of being a boundary-spanner is also what lead me to develop the Myers Model of Knowledge Mobilization.

 kmb-model-final1.png

The greatest advances often occur not exclusively in academia, or private-sector practitioners or business leaders or because of government policies. The greatest advances and social benefit often occur at the intersections and collaborations between borders and boundaries – an important message for anyone in research or also beginning a career in research.

By promoting knowledge mobilization on a broader scale, ResearchImpact has been playing a leading role in cross-sector connections since 2006. ResearchImpact is a knowledge mobilization network of 11 Canadian universities involved in community-university engagement to inform public policy, involve non-profits in the research process and create valuable social change. ResearchImpact has crossed university borders into communities to include all sectors – public, private and non-profit, and has given graduate students opportunities to connect their own research with knowledge brokers and community stakeholders. It gets graduate students thinking and engaging beyond the “traditional” research process.

Such inclusiveness is moving beyond the borders of research disciplines, moving beyond the borders of academia to community, and also moving beyond national borders. How we do research has changed – and how we teach new researchers to do research has also changed.

Welcome to research in the 21st century!

Knowledge Brokers As Translators & Diplomats

translate

How do you get people who speak different languages to understand one another? If you’ve ever travelled to other countries or been in a group of people who speak different languages where you’ve tried to make yourself understood you’ve probably used a series of gestures, facial expressions, body language or object-pointing to help with the various translations.

Researchers and policy makers are like these people who speak different languages from different countries.

Now what if you take this language and cultural barrier example one step further and find that not only are you not able to communicate with these other people – you’re also being ignored in your attempts to be understood. Researchers are often like the people trying to be understood in attempts to get their research implemented – while policy makers can be the ones doing the ignoring.

Researchers and policy makers are two highly specialized groups. Both have different goals, attitudes towards what is considered “evidence” based and how to “best” use it, perceptions of time-frames, and different demands and accountabilities on their work. Just like people of different languages and cultures, there are also issues of trust and respect that can come into play when some borders won’t even allow some people to cross into the country, as policy makers are skeptical about the usefulness of research – or worse – don’t even see a link between research and decision making.

 

How do we get them to understand each other? 

The most effective way is getting a translator.  

 

How do we get them to open up borders for less restricted access?

The most effective way is getting a diplomat.

 

That translator and diplomat for researchers and policy makers is a knowledge broker.

 

What if I want to get to certain places and across borders without a map, a directional, translational or transportation device to do so? Would simply wishing this to happen without the appropriate tools or resources make it happen? What about those obstacles that I might encounter along the way that might require new ways, inputs and possible detours to eventually get to my destination or be understood?

That’s where knowledge brokers come into the research process to close the loop (or untangle the spool of thread) in the knowledge mobilization process between research and policy making. Knowledge brokers bring in a 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 (a variety of “languages” and “cultures”) – not just from researcher or policy maker perspectives alone. Knowledge brokering works across sectors to ensure that research is made openly available and understood to society in the most effective manner in ways that bring wider benefit.

Within the science to policy stage, knowledge brokers offer professional, intermediary support as “translators” and “diplomats” to help guide researchers and policy makers in understanding each other. Knowledge brokers help traverse the structural issues around professional “language” and “cultural” boundaries established by the organizational norms and environments of researchers and policy makers – as well as many other stakeholders.

Knowledge brokers also help manage the barriers of institutional change and development while also understanding the context-specific elements of knowledge mobilization. As knowledge mobilization advisers, the roles and skills of knowledge brokers need to be clearly understood. David Phipps and Sarah Morton have written an excellent (and whimsical) practice-based article on the qualities required for successful knowledge brokers, which also includes valuable recommendations on recruiting and training knowledge brokers. The article may take a more light-hearted approach to the “idealised knowledge broker” but the importance of having knowledge brokers within universities, research institutions and other organizations with the appropriate skills is imperative for successful implementation of research to policy making.

Knowledge brokers also simplify the information between researchers and policy makers: Good examples are the Health Evidence Network (set up by the World Health Organization) which provides one page policy briefs in response to questions posed by policy makers; and the Networks of Centres of Excellence of Canada within the government of Canada to connect research and policy makers in transforming research “into products, services and processes that improve the lives of Canadians.”

Knowledge brokers can provide policy makers – who are already inundated with information – a brief synopsis of research such as those produced by ResearchImpact knowledge brokers as clear language research summaries. Such clear language research summaries are an effective and valuable way of briefing policy makers in a concise and understandable manner to integrate and synthesize scientific information into knowledge. Knowledge brokers who are supporting access to research and engaging with researchers, community organizations, practitioners, and policy makers can use clear language summaries as part of an institutional strategy for knowledge mobilization.

Knowledge mobilization helps support research collaborations and co-production of knowledge where researchers and policy makers partner to understand and produce knowledge that is relevant to academia as well as to real world problems. Knowledge brokers as “translators” and “diplomats” are also highly skilled professionals who help researchers and policy makers understand each other by developing knowledge mobilization strategies where different languages are spoken.

If you had language and cultural barriers, wouldn’t you want a translator or diplomat to help create understanding?

 

 

A New University Paradigm

university

Universities are considered one of our most reliable and cherished knowledge sectors with great expectations of delivering quality education and world-leading research. There has been increased pressure on universities for financial income and resources along with increased pressure from government granting agencies that expect a valuable public and/or private return of investment for providing research funding. With the creation of CIHR in 2000, Canadian health researchers were required to articulate knowledge translation strategies in their grant applications. Some NSERC funding programs require commercialization strategies. In 2011 SSHRC launched its renewed program architecture which requires all grant applications to have a knowledge mobilization strategy. This created an expectation that universities will effectively address social and economic issues and spend their money wisely – along with a mandate from the granting councils to incorporate knowledge mobilization and technology commercialization strategies into research grant applications.

So why aren’t some universities still not doing this?

If universities are to deliver the most promising benefits of knowledge and research for society and meaningfully follow funding guidelines an approach needs to be considered about how research is conducted. This approach needs to include those inside and outside the university who contribute to the research and social/economic innovation process. This is where knowledge mobilization comes in.  Yet many universities still have an unenthusiastic and unresponsive attitude to integrating knowledge mobilization and social innovation strategies into the university structure itself.  Many universities still do not have an actual knowledge mobilization unit within their university, or worse have a great misunderstanding of what knowledge mobilization actually is and how to do it successfully – which is also often the reason why they fail to receive funding from granting agencies and continue to struggle financially.

The old university paradigm of receiving funding without a knowledge mobilization strategy is dead.

Universities see themselves to be in a risky situation as a result of economic pressures combined with increasing demand for quality research to provide social benefit.  In a climate of uncertain funding and a greater demand for valuable research, understanding how knowledge mobilization can bring opportunities to improve research, create social and economic innovation and affect government policy needs to be considered. When this is done it leads to important social and economic change.

Community-University partnerships and engagement are not new and have been around for at least a decade. Some examples include CUPP Brighton UK, CUP Alberta, Canadian Social Economy Hub, Emory University Center for Community Partnerships, and Concordia University’s Office of Community Engagement. In an informative journal club post David Phipps also discusses Mobilising knowledge in community-university partnerships.

So some universities get it and are definitely ahead of the game as the public sector benefits from these community-university collaborations.  Yet there are other universities who continue to ignore the broader benefits of such synergies. This is where greater work needs to be done to help the universities who continue to be stuck in old academic-infrastructure paradigms and help sustain community-university partnerships programs that do exist by the institutions themselves.

Developing long-term knowledge mobilization and social innovation strategies involves commitment and greater cooperation from all bodies of the university – staff, students, faculty, deans, vice-presidents, and governing councils; and most importantly from the university president.  It’s about multi-disciplinary and inter-departmental conversations to provide differing views from varying capacities to create an academic environment that provides social benefit that includes engagement within and beyond the walls of the university from many directions.

The greater return on investment for social benefit requires a broader approach to have faculty, university research services, knowledge mobilization unit knowledge brokers and university industry liaison offices work together across sectors instead of as separate university contacts and entities. A great start of this integrated approach comes from the University of Alberta which has amalgamated the Industry Liaison Office, the Research Grants Office and components of Research and Trust Accounting into an integrated Research Services Office. U of A thinks “the move to a “one-stop shop” provides researchers with more effective and streamlined services, with enhanced accountability and productivity.” However, a truly integrated approach that maximizes the impact of university research would also include a knowledge mobilization unit.

Canada has ten universities that are part of ResearchImpact – a knowledge mobilization network with further examples of such integrated structures. UQAM engages both research services and technology transfer in their support of knowledge mobilization; Offices of research services at both Wilfrid Laurier University and York University include technology commercialization as well as York’s KMb Unit as research grant support; and University of Victoria combines research partnerships and knowledge mobilization (but this does not include grants).

Another interesting pan university approach to supporting innovation is the appointment of Angus Livingstone and Innovation Catalyst. Formerly head of the UILO, Angus took up this new post in February 2014. It is too early to know what impact this new position will have but one can only hope that it embraces social as well as economic and technology innovation.

A further set-back for Canadian universities is the recent Canadian government announcement in its 2014 budget of a $10-million College Social Innovation Fund connecting colleges with community-based applied research needs of community organizations.  Colleges and polytechnic institutions have traditionally been places for trade learning and apprenticeship. It now looks like they are stepping up into the league of universities to create social and economic innovation. It may be great news for colleges – not so much for universities; especially those who haven’t already started community-university engagement.

This infusion of capital into Canadian colleges for social innovation development has set back any future benefit and funding for Canadian universities who have not yet understood the connection between knowledge mobilization and social innovation, thereby creating a missed opportunity for certain universities to gain the lead on investment in knowledge mobilization and social and economic innovation.

As the saying goes…you snooze, you lose! So is your university a winner or a loser? 

Combining university knowledge mobilization units with university research services and industry liaison offices that engage with both community partnerships and business innovation opportunities all in a “one-stop-shop” can bring great returns on investment – socially and economically – for universities and communities – but some universities are sadly still far behind.

 

140 Twitter Characters To Knowledge Mobilization – Revisited

How have traditional models of research and dissemination changed to present new knowledge to the public or further inform research by creating broader public engagement?  Many researchers – particularly in the health sciences – are still embedded in long-established values and approaches to methodology and validity, often overlooking new modes of knowledge mobilization such as social media.

NCE Logo

One of my recent KMbeing blog posts presented a very brief Twitter survey of the 16 classic Networks of Centres of Excellence in Canada (NCE). The survey found that many of these NCEs are still not effectively using Twitter as a valuable social media tool that can enhance knowledge mobilization strategies. This quick overview showed that of those NCEs that could actually be found on Twitter only four NCEs tweet an average of just over one tweet per day – which is clearly insufficient for effective social media and potential stakeholder engagement. It would appear that using Twitter as part of a knowledge mobilization strategy is clearly not on the radar screen of many of these NCEs, despite the potential of Twitter (and social media) as a valuable means of addressing key outcomes mandated for NCEs – including working with end users to accelerate the creation and application of new knowledge.

To be fair, my own quick methodology of the previous survey focused on the average number of tweets per day over a 30 day period from the 14th February 2013 to the 15th March 2013.  The average number of tweets in a month was then divided by 30 to get the average number of tweets per day. Although the Twitter profile start date for each NCE was included along with the actual total number of tweets since each NCE began tweeting, this was not considered when doing the first brief survey.

So now, for part two of the original blog post survey 140 Twitter Characters To Knowledge Mobilization, I present a somewhat deeper (though still brief) analysis that takes into consideration the length of time each of these classic NCEs have used Twitter.

I used timeanddate.com to calculate the total number of days from the start date of each NCE Twitter profile to the 15th of March 2013 (up to and including March 15th to be consistent with the first survey). Then the total number of tweets since each NCE joined Twitter was divided by the total number of days each NCE has been using Twitter to create a tweet-intensity score.

Each NCE was then ranked, showing the following results:

Twitter Intensity Scores NCEs

 

                  

(Click on diagram above to enlarge)

Tweet-Intensity Ranking:

  1. Allergy, Genes and Environment Network – AllerGen
@AllerGen_NCE

(funding to 2019)

0.96

  1. AUTO21 Network of Centres of Excellence
@AUTO21NCE 

(funding to 2015)

0.83

  1. ArcticNet
@ArcticNet

(funding to 2018)

0.81

  1. Canadian Arthritis Network – CAN 
@commcan

(funding to 2014)

0.80

  1. Stem Cell Network – SCN
@StemCellNetwork

(funding to 2015)

0.73

  1. Carbon Management Canada – CMC
@cmc_nce

(funding to 2013)

0.47

  1. Canadian Stroke Network – CSN 
@strokenetwork

(funding to 2015)

0.37

  1. NeuroDevNet
@NeuroDevNet

(funding to 2014)

0.34

  1. Canadian Water Network – CWN
@CdnWaterNetwork

(funding to 2015)

0.28

  1. BioFuelNet 
@BioFuelNet

(funding to 2017)

0.13

  1. Graphics, Animation and New Media Canada – GRAND
@GRAND_NCE

(funding to 2014)

0.10

  1. Canadian Photonic Industry Consortium – CPIC 

Not Found

(no longer funded)

0.0

  1. GEOmatics for Informed DEcisions Network – GEOIDE 

Not Found

(no longer funded)

0.0

  1. Marine Environmental, Observation, Prediction and Response Network – MEOPAR 

Not Found

(funding to 2017)

0.0

  1. Mprime Network Inc.

Not Found

(funding to 2014)

0.0

  1. Technology Evaluation in the Elderly Network – TVN 

Not Found

(funding to 2017)

0.0

Although it’s still a simple calculation from the total number of tweets since each NCE started using Twitter, the current results show a more accurate tweet-intensity over time, with one of the NCEs – AllerGen – ranking first and showing a fairly impressive use of tweeting for the shorter amount of time on Twitter.
(It would be interesting to include the number of followers into the mix to see if that variable contributes to tweet effectiveness – but I’ll save that for a future blog post!).

However, results still show that the average number of tweets per day still remains well under the evidence that a minimum of at least ten tweets per day creates more valuable engagement and greater opportunities for knowledge dissemination. There’s still room for improvement to create greater social media engagement for more effective knowledge mobilization.

Just as a comparison, I decided to look at the results for Canada’s leading knowledge mobilization network ResearchImpact and my own KMbeing Twitter account.

Twitter Profile Twitter Name Twitter Start Total Days On Twitter Total Tweets Tweet-Intensity Score
ResearchImpact @researchimpact May 15, 2009

1401

9450

6.74

KMbeing @kmbeing March 25, 2010

1087

9982

9.18

researchimpact

KMbeing logo

(Perhaps this is the reason why both ResearchImpact and KMbeing were voted in the top ten Canadian Knowledge Mobilization Influencers for 2011 and 2012).

Canadian policymakers and government agencies have recognized the value of drawing together leading researchers and research institutions into national research networks to support trans-disciplinary and multi-sectoral collaboration.  The effectiveness of these research networks are also a great example to the rest of the world.  It’s a first step towards incorporating knowledge mobilization into strategic planning to successfully increase communication and collaboration among a variety of stakeholders. It’s a changing research model using networking as part of the research process.

The next step for Canada’s flagship Science & Technology networks is to increase the use of social media for knowledge mobilization.  Again, social media is not a fad, and the use of social media for academics and institutions is becoming more incorporated into strategic planning. Many researchers and academic institutions are recognizing the value of using Twitter in a more consistent and productive manner for knowledge mobilization.

David Phipps

As David Phipps, Executive Director of Research and Innovation Services at York University (and ResearchImpact) pointed out in a keynote address to the Canadian Knowledge Mobilization Forum in 2012 (and posted on the blog MobilizeThis!), the future of knowledge mobilization and research engagement will depend on social media, but researchers and knowledge mobilizers are still trying to figure out how to effectively use social media to do this.

15-20 years ago IT folks had to develop a business case to convince corporate leaders to invest in an enterprise e mail system. Today e mail is a fact of life (unfortunately). Many of us are now using social media as a broadcasting tool and a large portion are also using it as a listening tool. We are now starting to figure out how to use social media as a tool for engagement but we’re not there yet. These trends will accelerate.”

Just as email changed society, so too is social media changing the traditional models of research, dissemination and engagement. Social media provides new modes of knowledge exchange and broader public input, creating a further research resource in the current KMb world as a way of providing broader participation in discussions around research topics.  Social media also breaks down international barriers to share academic research in a way that is more friendly and immediate to a wider audience. Yet, social media is still a tool that needs to be used correctly to be effective (see my previous blog for tips on how to do this).

Canada’s Networks of Centres of Excellence are making a start.  They just need to continue to take a few more steps forward into new modes of research and into the future of using social media – especially Twitter – for knowledge mobilization.

Knowledge Exchange at CAMH

CAMH logo                              gary-pic

Many thanks to ResearchImpact’s MobilizeThis! blog for mention of my new position as Knowledge Exchange Events & Resources Planner. I started working with an amazing team at CAMH (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health) in the Knowledge Exchange & Education division of the Provincial System Support Program (PSSP) – including my former colleague from the KM “bee”-hive at York University’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit, Jason Guriel.

Jason Guriel

The team is being lead by Executive Director Heather Bullock, who is also heading up EENet – the Evidence Exchange Network.

Heather Bullock

Along with my organizational abilities and experience in the field of knowledge mobilization, I am hoping to put my interests and skills in using social media for knowledge mobilization to great use. You can read the blog here.

Formal & Personal Knowledge Mobilization (KMb)

Dedicated followers of my KMbeing blog will know that my understanding of Knowledge Mobilization (KMb) has evolved over the recent years as KMb has emerged, and I have taken a more holistic (and perhaps idealistic) approach to Knowledge Mobilization from the more academic/institutional approach that has now been established.

I continue to recognize (what I call) more formal KMb as knowledge collaborations between researchers and research-users to inform public policy decision-makers to create social benefit. But I also see the value of Knowledge Mobilization on a more personal level – connecting each person’s individual knowledge with the knowledge of others to make the world a better place.

There are four essential factors that influence effective formal Knowledge Mobilization:

1)      Strong inter-organizational/institutional partnerships

2)      Using skilled knowledge brokers (like those found at York University’s KMb Unit and ResearchImpact – Canada’s Knowledge Mobilization Network)

3)      Meaningful involvement of “front-line” personnel – those involved in direct contact between researchers and community organizations

4)      Support (professionally and financially) by institutional leaders

There are four essential factors that influence effective personal Knowledge Mobilization:

1)      Value of one’s own knowledge

2)      Sharing one’s own knowledge with others

3)      Being open to the knowledge of others

4)      Combining knowledge to create meaningful, new knowledge to make the world a better place

Knowledge Mobilization (KMb) – both formal and personal – is about creating multi-directional connections of knowledge utilization, transfer and exchange for social benefit. It’s about establishing social relationships through multi-directional knowledge sharing.

More formally – knowledge can be translated and/or exchanged in several multi-directional and engaging ways:

  • mobilized from researcher(s) to researcher(s) within the academy
  • mobilized from researcher(s) to practitioner(s) or vice versa
  • mobilized from one institution or organization working with another
  • mobilized from community organizations to practitioner(s) to researcher(s)
  • mobilized from community organizations to researcher(s)
  • mobilized from researcher(s) to researcher(s) within or across institutions
  • mobilized from a tweeter/blogger (use of social media) to inform researcher(s) in academia
  • mobilized from word-of-mouth story-telling to organizations or researcher(s)

More personally – knowledge can be translated and/or exchanged in several multi-directional and engaging ways:

  • mobilized from person(s) to person(s) within a family
  • mobilized from person(s) to person(s) from within to outside a family (or vice versa)
  • mobilized from person(s) to co-worker(s)
  • mobilized from person(s) to person(s) within social circles (friends, volunteer communities, faith communities)
  • mobilized from a tweeter/blogger (using social media) to inform others
  • mobilized from comments of others (using social media) to inform tweeter/blogger
  • mobilized from word-of-mouth story-telling to strangers or new acquaintance(s)

In short – Knowledge Mobilization (KMb) can take place with and among anyone wanting to share knowledge with the intention of making the world a better place. At the heart of KMb is the intention of social benefit for everyone.

Whether you’re doing it formally or personally – are you mobilizing knowledge to make the world a better place?

Knowledge Hypocrites: Take Two!

A recent controversial blog that has been getting much attention is by York University’s David Phipps of ResearchImpact – titled Knowledge Hypocrites. In it Phipps makes the pointed claim that “We are all knowledge hypocrites.”

Phipps includes himself when he states that “neither researchers nor knowledge brokers practice what we preach.” Phipps concludes that “until researchers receive time and incentives for making their research broadly accessible and knowledge brokers receive time and incentives for accessing that research we shall remain hypocritical. Well-meaning indeed, but hypocritical. The system won’t change overnight but it won’t change at all if we don’t start to seek out KMb/KT researcher/practitioner collaborations.”

Well-said! Although I am not a researcher or a knowledge broker (although I have been called a theoretical knowledge broker) my holistic approach to Knowledge Mobilization (KMb) has always attempted to promote greater social collaboration across knowledge sectors to include community voices of knowledge. I believe all of us have knowledge from our life experiences to share for greater social benefit – not just within academic or more formal research institutions – to influence decision/policy makers to make the world a better place. Isn’t making the world a better place the most important incentive? Only when all knowledge voices are given an opportunity to speak for benefit can hypocrisy ever end. Knowledge brokers can provide those links across knowledge sectors for social benefit as I have shown in the following diagram.

A hypocrite is defined as a person who professes certain ideals – but fails to live up to them.

Ideals are all about making things better – but ideals are also something that remain just out of reach, waiting to be turned into reality. So how do we turn ideals into reality? For starters we need to continue to break down barriers and preconceived notions or beliefs. That’s what David Phipps is calling us to do – especially researchers and knowledge brokers who are considered the “experts” in knowledge.

It’s been said that a cup is useful only when it’s empty – a mind that is filled with rigid beliefs or dogmas is really a closed and hypocritical mind.

How many of us have missed wonderful opportunities for learning and sharing knowledge because of preconceived notions or beliefs that we’ve adopted from others because we thought we were “right”? How many times have we rejected people who might have been great knowledge sources because they believed something that we didn’t believe, or didn’t believe what I believed? I have mentioned in my previous blog that there are many “truths”.  What is most important is being open to and sharing knowledge regardless of how “truth” is perceived.  What is most important is creating new knowledge – combining knowledge from many knowledge sectors – for social benefit.

I’ll take Phipps’ challenge even further beyond just researcher/ practitioner collaborations to include all social collaborations that include knowledge voices beyond an institutional capacity. As Phipps says, “the system won’t change overnight but it won’t change at all if we don’t start to seek out…collaborations” – even in unexpected places within various community knowledge sectors. Only then, when we break down these barriers – and the ideal can be turned into reality to make the world a better place – will we no longer be knowledge hypocrites.

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.