The Power of Social Networking: Knowledge Brokers Broker Knowledge about Knowledge Brokers

Peter WestPeter West uses the name WestPeter on Twitter. According to his Twitter profile he lives in London, ON and is interested in “scholarly articles, books & proceedings of interest to knowledge workers.” On July 1 he posted the following:

WestPeter Matching knowledge brokering strategies to environmental policy problems & settings (Environ Sci & Pol) #KM $ is a shortened url that takes you to the following url:

Sarah Michaels… which is why we use shortened urls but that’s not the purpose of this blog… this url is an abstract of a paper from Sarah Michaels (U. Nebraska) titled “Matching knowledge brokering strategies to environmental policy problems and settings”. Only the abstract was available so I contacted Sarah who was kind enough to send me the pre-print (thank you Sarah). Two things are important here:

1. There is a whole body of literature on knowledge brokering for environmental policy that I never knew about. I have never heard of the scholars (except Lindquist) listed in her references yet it appears that knowledge brokering for environmental policy aligns well (see table below) with those of us who inform our practice using a health frame of reference. ResearchImpact draws its knowledge brokering practice mainly from Lavis et al [Journal of Health Services Research and Policy (2003) 8(3):165] using the producer push, user pull and knowledge exchange methods plus our description of co-production [Evidence & Policy (2009) 5(3):211]. But Sarah introduces us to a new term – capacity building: “intensive knowledge brokering is about creating and sustaining capacity for innovation”.

Michaels vs Phipps & Shapson

It is nice yet surprising to see a whole body of literature that has arisen independently but consistently with our practice and yet to learn something new.  I wonder if Sarah is aware of the work we draw from: Lavis, Landry, Estabrooks, Grimshaw, Nutley, Levin…

2. The second important observation is I found this on Twitter.  Sarah published her paper, WestPeter found it, tweeted, and because ResearchImpact follows WestPeter I saw the tweet, got the link, e-mailed Sarah, read the paper and now you’re reading the blog and maybe you will read her paper.  That is the power of social networking.  Sarah’s paper found a wider audience, I read some new literature and I “met” a like minded colleague – all thanks to less than 140 characters.

Unlike how it markets itself, Twitter should be “what do you want to share” not “what are you doing”!

Go on… log on to Twitter and connect to lasting value in less than 140 characters.

Not Business as Usual: A Forum on Infrastructure Climate Change Adaptation – April 30

On April 30, the Toronto Urban Climate Change Network (TUCCN) hosted a full day event focusing on infrastructure and climate change adaptation held at the historic St. Lawrence Hall in downtown Toronto. TUCCN member YorkU was one of the sponsors for the event and ResearchImpact was there along with several other YorkU faculty members and students. The day was made up of keynote speeches, panel discussions and facilitated break-out sessions. Some of the speakers included representatives from Environment Canada, the Toronto Environment Office (TEO), the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, Pollution Probe, as well as Adam Freed, Senior Policy Advisor for Climate Change Adaptation in New York City and Joyce Coffee, Director of Project Development with the Chicago Department of the Environment.

Mayor David Miller

Mayor David Miller

Toronto Mayor David Miller also spoke and outlined some of the climate change adaptation plans the City of Toronto is currently working on. One that I found particularly interesting is the plan to reclad the hundreds of concrete high-rises around the city in order to improve their insulation value. Recladding these buildings would cut our regions greenhouse gas emissions by 3-4%. Mayor Miller also spoke strongly about the need for the city to work collaboratively with planners, researchers, engineers and other climate change experts to tackle this problem. In the past, infrastructure planning has been done using historic climate data but with the climate changes we are presently experiencing, making plans based on 100 year old data is not going to be useful for planning for the future. We need to be working together with the latest future focused information. I think Mayor Miller is spot on with this thinking and it was great to see that this idea was reflected in the mix of attendees.

For more information about TUCCN and upcoming events, visit their web site at

TUCCN Members

TUCCN Members