Knowledge mobilization

By Peter Muijres – Culture Class

Never in human history have we hunted for so much data, information and knowledge.

Never in human history have we gathered so much that is useful but not used.

The gap between existing and applied information concerns all types of human activity: raising children, buying food, designing products, disposing of waste, caring for the sick, governing resources, creating art. What are the results of research and development worth if nobody can use them, except perhaps a select few?

Knowledge Mobilization is a complex and emergent process that focuses on making what we know ready for action to produce value. The term was coined by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) in the first years of this millennium. The need for knowledge mobilization has arisen from the complex knowledge production process that has consistently failed to translate the most useful evidence resulting from practice and research into everyday outcomes that could benefit our decision making.

Why does new and useful intelligence often end in a file, on a shelf or in a head instead of being made available to public benefit? Many factors contribute to the knowledge gap. Policies aimed at smothering conflicting interests and delay caused by bureaucratic hurdles are only two of them. The ‘information revolution’ appears to provide another explanation for the knowledge gap between knowing and doing . As a result of internet, the “expert” is no longer viewed as a dominant source of knowledge. The increased competition between sources of information has led to heightened confusion and anxiety, as to what is the “best” method of ensuring positive outcomes for the decisions we take.

What can we do to make knowledge available for application? Peter Levesque suggests that knowledge mobilization is led from the middle and for the purpose. The issues of power and control are central – especially in institutional settings. He argues that more important than content, are considerations of context, capacity, and a culture that supports the use, sharing, and co-creation of knowledge(s), in its many forms. Value is always created in exchange. Exchange can be in multiple forms that depend on context, capacity of individuals and organizations, the accessibility of content, and he culture that supports exchange and value production.

Some core questions include:

  • How do we integrate multiple sources of data, information and knowledge into our daily activities, whether they be consumer decisions, or high-level policy decisions?
  • How do we, collectively and individually, move from making decisions based mostly on emotions and opinions to making decisions based on individual as well as collective understanding?
  • How do we move from holding on to what we know rather than sharing it and acting on it in ways that are mutually beneficial?

Having useful evidence available to us in a timely fashion, in a format that we can use, is critical to the change from simply knowing to doing – and doing the best we can.

Knowledge Mobilization also includes active processes of creating linkages and exchanges between producers and users of data, information, and knowledge to engage in value-added activities. It includes a more entrepreneurial perspective than is often seen in disciplinary academic research and includes awareness of opportunities, key partnerships, market conditions, technological supports, and concepts of innovation.

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About cultureclassblog

Culture Class is a different class: people like you and me who are enjoy expanding their transnational comfort zone by learning about people, culture and nature. We aim to take useful insights and knowhow out of their academic and clinical boxes and make them available to benefit of people working and living together in everyday life.

2 responses to “Knowledge mobilization”

  1. mathiassager says :

    Thanks for the article.
    In my opinion and experience knowledge sharing is not a technological problem. There is a lot at stake as owning the (electronic) data means controlling the growing virtual world, including our virtual identities. Money never will be shared freely, and for the same capitalist competitive reasons the data assets (don’t forget that all (!) data is valuable in Big Data) will only get more protected. Some fear that this is even threatening the freedom of the world wide web. All is depending on the further development of cooperative values in our economies. I hope the following post adds some further add value to the discussion: We need to claim ownership for our virtual identity data

    • cultureclassblog says :

      Thank you for your valuable comment Mathias.
      Anything can become an asset: virtual identities, brands, money, data.. and are thus are wanted targets to take ownership of and use or sell. The post you mention points at another critical aspect in the process we are going through.
      The information r/evolution is still too new for us to realise the impact it has and has had.

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