Knowledge Mobilization

What is Knowledge Mobilization and why should you care?

Let's start with what it is.

Knowledge mobilization (KM) is a way of translating academic research into information and knowledge that the greater society can benefit from.

What? So what? Now what?

KM activates knowledge transfer and has value for the internally (professional and organizational development) and externally (profile, collective impact).

The goal of a knowledge mobilization (KM) approach is not merely to create research repositories or summarize project work. KM aims to extract practical learning from
existing resources (such as reports, interviews, community events) and create impact. It is an opportunity to share learning about innovation, research, or events.

KM’s goal is also to enhance two-way connections between researchers/innovators and community stakeholders and highlight relevant and useful research and evidence. KM might help to remove barriers to implementation and improve services. For example, continuing to extract and deepen key messages, lessons, and practical recommendations from a report, event, or meeting might target different audiences and offer them information that can help them to implement or take action.

A deeper dive

According to Peter Levesque, President & Director, The Institute for Knowledge Mobilization, Knowledge mobilization is an umbrella term. It includes a whole range of activities:

  • Knowledge management - the management and mining of data and information.
  • Knowledge transfer - the movement of data information and knowledge from one operational context to another.
  • Knowledge translation - the creation of synthetic and multiple formats of reports and findings and evidence.
  • Knowledge exchange - the exchange among similar parties as well as across sectors.

It's not just the exchange itself but also the creation of the infrastructure. The development, the facilitation, the maintenance of venues and conditions for dialogue and debate and exchange.

Central to all of these activities in perspective is the concept of making knowledge ready for service or action, to create value for individuals and societies. That's the basis of what knowledge mobilization is.

I'm definitely not the expert in KM. I'm learning every day and, hopefully, I'm a useful practitioner. You should check out York U's Innovation York unit for some great resources and backgrounders on KM.

Why is it important?

Peter Levesque explains:

What's a sector example of Knowledge Mobilization?

In British Columbia, PhD student Erin Goheen Glanville is running a project called Worn Words: Digital Storytelling as a Method for Critical Dialogue on Refugees in Canada. As she says: "Despite the recent swell of concern for Syrian refugees, public opinion about Canada’s responsibility to refugees continues to be haunted by misinformation and polarity. In community education contexts, I have found that workshop participants have only a vague understanding of the legal and cultural concepts that undergird their deeply held opinions about refugees. We all have an opinion on ‘refugees’ at the ‘border’ seeking ‘asylum’ and in need of ‘welcome,’ but our definitions are not clear.".

She is creating an online collection of multimedia educational materials to re-narrate key tropes from debates about refugee policy such as ‘welcome’ and ‘border.’ By using digital storytelling as an approach, she seeks to "mobilize critical refugee knowledge for diverse educational contexts."

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