So you’ve got your knowledge mobilization (KMb) plan. How are you going to put it in action? Traditionally, when people thought about sharing knowledge, it was through peer-reviewed journals and conferences, industry or stakeholder meetings and publications.1 There are, in fact, MANY different ways to do KMb. This section will help you generate ideas for your KMb plan.
How can you decide on a strategy that’s best for you? It can be overwhelming to think about which one to pick. Researchers have tried to determine the effectiveness of different KMb strategies, but no one approach has been found to be better than others.2 There’s also no single strategy that will be effective in all situations.2
The strategy you choose for your KMb should fit with your specific situation. Think about your audience:
- Who are they?
- What are their interests and needs?
- Who are your partners and supporters?
- What terms, concepts and language do they understand?
- What communication form will be best for them?1
Finally, it’s important to consider what resources you have access to. What is your budget for your KMb activities? Check out Planning for resources that can help you explore these questions to solidify your plan.
There are three general categories of strategies for doing KMb:3
Products can be a great way to share information quickly, regularly and accessibly. Particularly in this online age, products can be made available instantly from almost anywhere with a computer and internet access. However, some products promote one-way communication and your audience may miss information or choose not to read it.
Examples of products include reports, fact sheets, press releases, toolkits and e-newsletters.
KMb is a social process.3 Events and meetings often contribute to this social process since they can be collaborative in nature. Although teleconferences, videoconferences and virtual meetings can be cost-effective, in-person events and meetings can provide a rich environment for the organic exchange of ideas, collaboration and fostering connections that may otherwise get lost. Event participants often have common interests, experiences, skills or expertise.4
Examples of events include conferences, forums, debates, workshops, annual meetings and media events (e.g. TV or radio segments).
Networks can be a powerful way to support and encourage KMb because they create ongoing social contact, which is most likely to affect behaviour.3 The ongoing dialogue within networks can create learning opportunities for all involved, ensuring that information flows between people instead of going one way, from producer to user.4 However, it can be difficult to build and maintain a network.3 Participation can be low as people are often short on time. For networks to be successful, it’s essential to ensure that participants are willing to bring their experiences, perspectives and ideas to the table.4
Examples of networks include communities of practice, online forums, network push mechanisms (e.g. listservs), social media and chat rooms.
Key considerations for doing KMb
- People consume information in different ways.
- Using multiple strategies to reach your audience is generally more effective.
- By actively engaging your audience you can help to bring about change.
- Consider how you can interact with and involve your audience in shaping your message.
Keep it real
- Think about what knowledge your audience needs.
- Package your message in a way that is easy for people to apply in their day-to-day lives.
- Consider developing a communications strategy to plan out how you’ll deliver your message to your audience.
- Consider the potential of mobilizing this knowledge.
- With an effective message, you can generate awareness, challenge old ways of thinking and inspire action.
- 1. a. b. Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). (2010). Knowledge translation and transfer plan: A toolkit for researchers to accelerate their research into action. Retrieved from: http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/research/ktt/indexktt.html
- 2. a. b. Harrington, A., Beverley, L., Barron, G., Pazderka, H., Bergerman, L. & Clelland, S. (2009). Knowledge translation: A synopsis of the literature 2008. Edmonton, Alberta: Alberta Health Services – Alberta Mental Health Board. Alberta Mental Health Research Partnership Program. Retrieved from: https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/assets/info/res/mhr/if-res-mhr-kt-lit-synopsis.pdf
- 3. a. b. c. d. Cooper, A., & Levin, B. (2010). Some Canadian contributions to understanding knowledge mobilisation. Evidence & Policy: A Journal of Research, Debate & Practice, 6(3).
- 4. a. b. c. Zarinpoush, Von Sychowski, & Sperling. (2007). Effective knowledge transfer & exchange for nonprofit organizations: A framework. Toronto, Ontario: Imagine Canada.