2011 York KMb Expo – Putting the Social In Innovation / L’Expo MdC 2011 de York – Mettre le social dans l’innovation

By Michael Johnny (RIR-York)

On June 15, York’s Knowledge Mobilization (KMb) Unit hosted its 5th Annual KMb Expo. Social Innovation was the central theme for the day, linking knowledge mobilization as a process that leads to social innovation.

Le 15 juin, l’Unité de mobilisation des connaissances (MdC) de York a été l’hôte de la 5e édition de l’Expo MdC. L’innovation sociale en était le thème central. On y a en effet expliqué de quelle façon la mobilisation des connaissances, en tant que processus, menait à l’innovation sociale.

For five years York’s KMb Unit has been creating relationships between York University and agencies in York Region and beyond. The outcomes of these relationships are social innovations that create new solutions to persistent social challenges. KMb Expo 2011 focused on these social innovations, which are the outcomes of the knowledge mobilization process. KMb Expo 2011 also looked to create the vision of how we can collaborate on a system of social innovation in York Region.

On Wednesday, June 15, 2011, approximately 100 university researchers, community leaders, community-based researchers, and government policy professionals gathered at the Markham Convergence Centre for networking, speakers, and workshops designed to introduce and inform people about the KMb Unit’s support of a broader social innovation agenda for York Region. There were five main components to the agenda:

  1. Emerging Opportunities for Ontario’s Community Sector: Newmarket Councillor and Co-Chair of York Region’s Human Services Planning Board, John Taylor, introduced York Region’s ‘Making Ends Meet’ report, aimed to introduce residents to the Region’s priority items and blueprint for action to address human service priority issues. Among the notable points was a direct call to York University to partner to leverage its research capacity to help address the priority area of poverty reduction for York Region.
  2. How University-Community Collaboration Produces Social Benefits: Two case studies were presented by community organization leaders, Valerie Ryan, CEO of Nottawasaga Futures, and Janice Chu, Director of Community Investments for the United Way of York Region. Each study highlighted KMb Unit involvement as a catalyst to support action-oriented change within their respective organizations.
  3. Lunch Keynote: Stan Shapson and Daniele Zanotti spoke of the importance of social innovation for York Region and York University. Daniele announced Change Inc. as an incubator to promote and develop social innovation within York Region.
  4. Networking Break: All attendees visited 8 exhibitor booths and had their Passport to Collaboration stamped with a chance to win a fabulous prize. The opportunity to network remains one of the most sought after goals by attendees of our Expos.
  5. Optional Capacity Building Sessions: Attendees could opt in to attend one of the following sessions: Research 101, KMb 101, or Social Media 101. The opportunity to utilize KMb as a platform to build capacity for our community partners to engage in research and knowledge-based collaborations is an emerging priority.

The outcomes from the day were positive, with a high response of satisfaction with the agenda items.  The positive feedback for the Passport to Collabortion as an innovative networking solution was notable, as was the chance for people to hear actual stories of social innovation. Of course, we listen to all feedback and respect the desire people had for more interaction; our Expo is merely an introduction to dialogue on certain issues and topics.

Be sure to continue to follow our blog for news of new activities in the Fall and Winter months as well as for ongoing opportunities to engage with researchers, government, and community leaders on topics and priorities that are important to you. But you’re more than welcome to contact the KMb Unit directly to discuss any research or knowledge-based needs you may have. We’re a very social group here and happy to assist you!

KMb press release / MdC communiqué de presse

York University and United Way of York Region examine link between living conditions and health. Two funding announcements will move university research into communities.

L’Université York et United Way de la région de York examinent les liens entre les conditions de vie et la santé.  L’annonce du financement de deux projets va permettre à la recherche universitaire de rejoindre les communautés

First posted by York University.

TORONTO, June 15, 2011 −If where you’re born, live and work − and the healthcare system you access − determines a lot about how healthy you’ll be, what can local governments and community agencies do to improve your well-being?

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) has awarded York University and the United Way of York Region $93,000 to develop research initiatives that will examine how living conditions − the social determinants of health − affect health.

The funding, being announced today at York University’s fifth annual Knowledge Mobilization Expo at the Markham Convergence Centre, will be used for projects that will draw on the university’s strong interdisciplinary health research to respond to community needs and systemic social challenges identified by United Way of York Region.

“Social determinants of health are experienced where Canadians live − right in their communities,” said Ian Graham, vice-president of Knowledge Translation at CIHR. “University researchers and their partners in community health agencies, including those supported by the United Way, are critical to developing novel health services and health policies that have a direct outcome on the health of Canadians.”

“Collaborating and making research more accessible to our community partners and co-developing knowledge is a cornerstone of York University’s research enterprise,” said Stan Shapson, vice-president Research & Innovation. “For the last five years, we have collaborated with the United Way of York Region to connect researchers and graduate students with community and government organizations to find novel approaches that impact health and human services. York’s faculty members and our partners in community health agencies continue to work together to create innovative solutions that benefit the quality of life in our community.”

United Way of York Region is also announcing funding during the Knowledge Mobilization Expo. It is committing $150,000 through Change Inc., a social innovation incubator that it developed with York University to invest in new solutions to persistent social and health challenges faced by York Region residents. Based at the university’s research offices in York Region, Change Inc. was launched in October 2010. The United Way funding, through its Strength Investments will allow Change Inc. to provide socially-focused entrepreneurs, organizations and collaboratives with seed funding, physical space, shared administrative services and access to mentors, York researchers and graduate students. Continue reading

525,600 Minutes- How do you measure a year of KM?

Tuesday, March 2nd was the third annual KM Expo where York and it’s (mainly community) partners celebrated the past year of KM and looked forward to another. We were pleased to welcome over 95 participants to examine how KM can help broker relationships over, under, around and through Boundaries: between research and practice/policy; between community and university; between research and partner.

One always surprising and satisfying session is the un-conference time where participants identify topics of interest, including evaluation, training for KM careers, what is/are knowledge(s), changing the university culture, and social media. Danielle Zanotti (CEO, United Way of York Region) is always entertaining and thoughtful as he compared York’s KM Unit to his Nona (grandmother) who was strategic in her choice of partner – his Nono (grandfather). Tim McConnell (President and CEO, McConnell Foundation) reflected that putting voices around a table who wouldn’t normally sit together creates a clash of different understandings that creates new knowledge. He also recognized that policy makers (provincial and federal) where mainly absent from our KM table.

Many participants were asked the same question, “If you could tell the university to do one thing over the next year, what would it be?” We heard the following:

1) Engage in more brokering
• ResearchImpact-York has received over 150 requests for research brokering and will continue to do more

2) Create time/incentives/rewards for faculty to engage in KM
• We see this frequently. CHSRF has held some conversations with VPs Academic and Provosts but little progress has been made on including community engaged research in tenure & promotion

3) Create a learning cycle around KM
• ResearchImpact-York has created the KM P2P network, we’re developing KM tools, and we are active in the Ontario KTE CoP

4) “Universities are leaders in tradition” – become more open
• York has recently released the Provost’s White Paper providing a vision of York as Canada’s engaged university

5) Develop evaluation tools for KM
• Summer 2009 York conducted a formal evaluation of the last 4 years of KM. This report and recommendations arising from the repor will be presented on this blog soon.

6) Support digital literacy as an emerging skill-set
• See York’s initiatives like the Institute for Research on Learning Technologies, our work on O3, ABEL and other resources such as we wrote in this blog post

Throughout the 2010 Expo the theme was bees. We asked ourselves the question, “to b or not to b” and we decided to b. Starting with the 2010 Expo and following the lead of other knowledge mobilization leaders in Canada, including Peter Levesque, the Harris Centre, and SSHRC, York will adopt the acronym KMb.

ResearchImpact – York will be posting videos and presentations from the Expo on this blog and on KMb in action but for now, please see here for 525,600 minutes of KMb.

YorkU’s KM Expo 2010 – there’s still time to register!

Join us on Tuesday, March 2, 2010, when York University’s KM Unit will be hosting their third annual KM Expo at Le Parc in Richmond Hill.

The theme of the YorkU KM Expo 2010 is “Bridging Cultural Boundaries: Push, Pull and Co-Production of Knowledge” and we will explore the unique cultural boundaries that exist between university researchers, graduate students and their non-academic research collaborators from community organizations and government agencies. Featuring plenary, breakout, unconference and networking sessions, the KM Expo will explore how the push, pull and co-production methods of KM partnerships help universities and their partners become ‘boundary organizations’*.

Date: Tuesday, March 2

Time: 8:00 am to 5:30 pm

Location: Le Parc Conference and Banquet Centre
8432 Leslie St (Highway 7 and Leslie), Richmond Hill
Map to Location

There is no cost to attend the Expo but space is limited.  See below for the day’s agenda.

Register early!  RSVP to kejensen@yorku.ca or register online.

* Boundary organization: an organization that sits at the boundary of and spans the cultures of research and action & of science and politics.

Map to Le Parc

Driving Directions
From the South- Take the DVP/Highway 404 north and exit at Highway 7. Take Highway 7 west to Leslie Street. Turn left on Leslie and then right into the Le Parc parking lot.

From the North- Take Highway 404 south and exit at Highway 7. Take Highway 7 west to Leslie Street. Turn left on Leslie and then right into the Le Parc parking lot.

From York University- Take Highway 7 east to Leslie Street. Turn left on Leslie and then right into the Le Parc parking lot. Alternatively- take Highway 407 (toll road) to Leslie Street northbound and turn left into the Le Parc parking lot, just south of Highway 7.

Transit Directions
From Finch Station- Take the Viva Blue line to Richmond Hill Centre and transfer to the Viva Purple Eastbound line and depart at Leslie Street OR Take the Viva Pink from Finch Station and depart at Leslie Street (during peak hours only). Le Parc is located on the South-West corner of Leslie St and Highway 7.

From York University Keele Campus- Take the Viva Purple Eastbound line and depart at Leslie Street. Le Parc is located on the South-West corner of Leslie St and Highway 7.

Need a ride from York Keele Campus?

There will be a bus leaving Keele Campus from the East side of the Commons by the flags, directly South of the York Research Tower, at 7:30am sharp and will return to campus from Le Parc at 5:00. If you miss the bus, you can take the Viva Purple Eastbound located in front of the Archives of Ontario building and depart at Leslie Street.

YorkU’s KM Expo 2010 – save the date!

Join us on Tuesday, March 2, 2010, when York University’s KM Unit will be hosting their third annual KM Expo at Le Parc in Richmond Hill.

The theme of the YorkU KM Expo 2010 is “Bridging Cultural Boundaries: Push, Pull and Co-Production of Knowledge” and we will explore the unique cultural boundaries that exist between university researchers, graduate students and their non-academic research collaborators from community organizations and government agencies. Featuring plenary, breakout, unconference and networking sessions, the KM Expo will explore how the push, pull and co-production methods of KM partnerships help universities and their partners become ‘boundary organizations’*.

Date: Tuesday, March 2

Time: 8:00 am to 5:30 pm

Location: Le Parc Conference and Banquet Centre
8432 Leslie St (Highway 7 and Leslie), Richmond Hill
Map to Location

There is no cost to attend the Expo but space is limited.  See below for the day’s agenda (to be confirmed).

Register early!  RSVP to kejensen@yorku.ca or register online.

* Boundary organization: an organization that sits at the boundary of and spans the cultures of research and action & of science and politics.

What’s old is new again – test your knowledge about knowledge systems

D Cash HarvardMany of us think that KM (KT/KE/KTE/KI/KMb… whatever) is an emerging discipline.  It may be an emerging academic discipline but the practice isn’t new.  Jonathan Lomas [Brit Med J (2007) 334:129] reports that KM-like networks of industry and academics were active in the German dye industry in the late 1800s (side bar, this might have been more like industry liaison than KM, for more on that see our blog August 6, 2009).  Also, the University of Wisconsin State Agents performed a KM-ish role for local agriculture at the turn of the 20th century [Educational Record (1992) 73(2): 12].  Nonetheless, I still get pleasantly surprised when I read an “old” article that reads like it could have been written today.  In 2003, David Cash (then at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University) wrote “Knowledge systems for sustainable development” [Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 100: 8086].  Read the full article here.

PNAS July 2003How many of these key points from the article sound familiar to you?

  1. Effective knowledge systems engage in communication, translation and mediation
  2. Efforts to mobilize are more likely to be effective when they manage boundaries between knowledge and action
  3. Active, iterative, and inclusive communication between experts and decision makers proves crucial to systems that mobilize knowledge
  4. Mobilizing requires active mediation (at ResearchImpact we call this knowledge brokering)
  5. Mediation works through increasing transparency (for more on transparency, see our blog on August 25, 2009)
  6. Systems mobilize knowledge for action by translations that facilitate mutual comprehension
  7. Mediation activities help make the boundary between experts and decision makers selectively porous

If you got 7 out of 7 congratulations, you’re new knowledge isn’t so new!

Employing these methods of communication, translation and mediation enables an organization to become a boundary organization.

“These functions can be institutionalized in ‘boundary organizations’, organizations mandated to act as intermediaries between the arenas of science and policy. As originally conceived, boundary organizations have at least three features: (i) they involve specialized roles within the organization for managing the boundary; (ii) they have clear lines of responsibility and accountability to distinct social arenas on opposite sides of the boundary; and (iii) they provide a forum in which information can be co-produced by actors from different sides of the boundary through the use of ‘boundary objects’”

Note the emphasis on co-production, something we highlighted in our recent paper in Evidence & Policy.

So, we might as well all go home as in 2003 David Cash and his colleagues wrote all that I could ever want to write in 2009.  The challenge now is to practice what he preached.  York University, the University of Victoria and ResearchImpact are boundary organizations.  Our knowledge brokers have a foot in both (ok, many) camps and seek to continuously make boundaries pourous by increasing transparency allowing knowledge to be co-produced by researchers and decision makers.

Hold the date of February 9, 2010 for our 3rd annual KM Expo that will feature discussions of boundaries and means of overcoming them.