aha moments from K* – thursday april 26, 2012

By David Phipps (RIR-York)

In the previous two installments of my aha moments from K* you will have seen all the countries that are home to some of the brokers at this conference. What is also impressive is the diversity of disciplines in which we work: communications, health policy, mental health, education, water, climate change, agriculture, health systems, international development, geography, nuclear disposal (yes…really!)

My aha came today in my panel with Glowen and Leandro. We developed a list of common lessons derived from our very different practices. The lessons learned are:

  • Build trust between partners
  • Develop capacity for K* in all partners
  • Use a mix of methodologies
  • Use web 2.0 tools
  • Involve traditional media
  • Peer supports
  • Knowledge is not static and is co-constructed
  • Understand the political, social and economic situations of the partners
  • Build a culture of K* for all participants

Moderator Derek Brien (Executive Director & Co-founder, Pacific Institute of Public Policy, Vanuatu) helped the panelists and the audience dig into this seemingly dichotomous relationship between convergence and divergence. There was general agreement on these common “guidelines” across different contexts but this doesn’t mean that I could hop on a plane and start my own knowledge intermediary practice in Ghana. These guidelines merely serve as a starting point. Knowing them before going into a new setting gives the broker a head start but it doesn’t replace local context and local knowledge. Aha!

But there is also something else starting to crystalize for me. Not so much an aha! as a hmmmmm….

This conference is the closest thing to a K* love-in that I can imagine. We are converging on many issues and many common themes and diverging on some such as the role of K* in advocacy. I am hearing lots of common challenges/opportunities but we’re not moving to solutions/actions. Today someone suggested we need a K* Code of Ethics. That’s a solution to an identified need around differential power in some knowledge relationships. I am hoping through the K* process – which is ongoing beyond these three days – we can identify common challenges/opportunities and move to addressing some common solutions/actions.

And now, off to Niagara!

York’s KMb Unit part of inaugural conference on knowledge mobilization

The following article appeared in York University’s YFile on April 24, 2012 and is reposted with permission.

York University is playing an important role in the first conference of its kind that is dedicated to better mobilizing and brokering knowledge.

The K*2012 conference, which starts today and continues until April 27, provides a forum for an international cohort of delegates to share their ideas and practices in knowledge mobilization. York’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit and Research Impact are two of the sponsoring organizations involved in the conference.

“York University is a recognized leader in Knowledge Mobilization in Canada and internationally,” said Robert Haché, York’s vice-president Research & Innovation. “We are pleased to participate in this event. The K*2012 conference provides an opportunity for global experts to share their perspectives on knowledge-brokering practices and its impact on the creation of public policies.”

How to better mobilize knowledge and maximize its usefulness will be the focus of some 60 experts from 20 countries. David Phipps, director of Research Services & Knowledge Exchange at York University, serves on the conference steering committee and is a participant in a panel discussion featuring experts in knowledge mobilization.

“This conference is the first of its kind,” said Phipps. “I will be sharing York’s knowledge mobilization practices with knowledge brokers from knowledge intermediary organizations around the world. I am particularly excited about presenting a panel with a knowledge broker from Argentina and one from Ghana. Despite the very different national contexts we have identified eight shared outcomes from our very different practices.”

As part of the conference proceedings, delegates will lay the foundation for future work, including establishment of a global community of interested parties and mechanisms to sustain it. The conference chair, Alex Bielak, senior Fellow and knowledge broker of the United Nations University’s Hamilton-based Institute for Water, Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH), will create a legacy document to capture ideas on reducing the gulf between knowledge and action.

The York University community can join the conference through social media. There will be a daily conference blog available on GDNet providing updates on plenary and panel discussions and interviews with speakers and participants. The blog offers a forum for University community members to ask questions and share their ideas and research about their experiences navigating the knowledge-policy interface. Twitter updates including photos, live updates, participants comments regarding discussions can accessed by following @Connect2GDNet and #Kstar2012.

University community members can also register here to watch full coverage of the plenary and panel sessions, or they can subscribe to receive GDNet blog email alerts and blog newsfeed offering a daily digest of conference news.