This week I’ve been at the 2nd UK Knowledge Mobilisation Forum in Edinburgh. Despite being billed as a UK event I met Canadians, Africans and Russians, so it was a real international melting pot of all things KM! As you’d expect, we talked about a wide range of things too. From our need to develop a language of love around KM to how we free our minds to become creative knowledge mobilisers. We even had Knowledge Mobilisation: the musical! I came away truly inspired and am sure that some of the ideas and people I met will feature here on my blog over the coming months.
As well as getting a great opportunity to listen to the knowledge and ideas of my fellow delegates, I also got the opportunity to share some of my ideas about how those of us who are starting out in KM (or have been at it a while) can develop our identity as knowledge mobilisers with a poster and presentation snappily called – “what kind of knowledge mobiliser are you?”
My idea was borne out of my own experiences of starting out in KM. For me, my initial unbridled enthusiasm about knowledge mobilisation slipped into confusion and anxiety as I realised the extent of the literature, the range of contested definitions and the number of different tribes in KM-land. The more I thought about my experiences, the more I realised that what we need isn’t more labels, more terminology or more frameworks, but better and clearer descriptions of ourselves so that we can communicate who we are to each other, find people who are ‘like us’ and find the frameworks and literature that are the most relevant to our work. It’s not about applying these labels to others, but it is about claiming our identity and being confident in who we are. My tentative solution was to use a recently completed review of 49 KM frameworks to develop 4 questions that we can ask ourselves as knowledge mobilisers. Each question maps onto a range of categories which can be used to build a clear description of what kind of knowledge mobiliser you are. You can get a closer look at the poster by clicking on the image, download the handout here and listen to what I said here. At the end of my presentation I handed out postcards and challenged people to tell me what kind of knowledge mobiliser they were.
As ever, please get in touch or share your ideas and thoughts in the comments section below. Feel free to use the materials to help you (and others) in your work, but do please let me know what you’ve used them for and if they were helpful.
Oh, and what kind of knowledge mobiliser am I? “I want to help frontline service providers to mobilise their factual knowledge, technical knowledge and practical wisdom by facilitating interactive learning in order to solve practice-based problems.” How about you?