Montag, 28. März 2011

Knowledge Mobilization in the global community

We all know this situation from our favourite soap: in episode number 321 our hero gets to know that he has two twin brothers, who were separated from him early after birth, so he had no idea that they existed. And they hadn’t had the prosperous life in a developed country like Canada.
“Knowledge Mobilization is turning research into action” is the theme of Researchimpact, Canada’s knowledge mobilization network, and they really have come far to put it into place! And Kmbeing has put it into a nice picture showing the totality of the concept and the interaction of the various parts of the community. To mention only some of modes that are described by their model of Knowledge Mobilization: distribution, externalization and commoditization of knowledge, driving agendas and creating thought leadership, providing the stage for thought leaders and influencers, discussing and creating the dialogue, internalization (I am avoiding to create more terms, as there is already some confusion) .
A fairly comprehensive Knowledge Mobilization? Yes, for a global company however Knowledge Mobilization is not only applicable in Canada, in fact it doesn’t stop at borders (that is paradox somehow, as Knowledge Mobilization was mainly driven from the academic and governemental perspective, while the corporate rather neglected it, it is now the view of the global corporate on KMb that enriches the picture – perhaps this is in itself a good example of Knowledge Mobilization)
So, what does Knowledge Mobilization mean for the global community? Isn’t it the same as before? The above mentioned describes Knowledge Mobilization for the connected community. But what if the community isn’t connected? Then Knowledge Mobilization must live up to other, to more basic expectations first – before it can deploy the KMb for the connected community.

This is the case for huge areas, where connectivity has not yet been established, or in crisis situations.
Where connectivity has not been established, the first task for Knowledge Mobilization is to create the connectivity. We talk about knowledge infrastructure - be it simple things like pencils and school buildings, be it the IT infrastructure to access knowledge (mobility and broadband). It also includes access to knowledge resources, you might think of libraries in the real world as well as databases and online libraries (research articles, blog, discussion fora).
Knowledge Mobilization for crisis situations – one could say – is just a combination of the creating access (connect) and mobilization (leverage on connectivity), but this is missing the particular point of KMb for the crisis. To twist it upside down, a crisis in this context is a situation that asks for a very particular way of deploying KMb, which is different to the above mentioned.
Some examples help:
  • After the Haiti earthquake, KMb had to establish the communication infrastructure again, but it wasn’t the same situation as when it was established for the first time (the "ordinary" build-up), time was crucial, as the communication infrastructure was essential to organize and structure the overal crisis management
  • When the H1N1 virus was at the edge of pandemic extension, there was a need for Knowledge Mobilization, but it wasn’t the “white”, even distributed need of KMb from astro physics over sociology to genetics, a crisis is characterized by very specific knowledge needs for individual and collective decision making.
  • What now happened in Japan combines both aspects, secure and or re-build access (including power supply), as well as specific knowledge needs on atomic radiation
  • Within the above context a crisis is not only a crisis situation that has become reality, but also a potential crisis situation; do you remember the US movies from the 1950’s, what to do after a nuclear strike, or the crisis prevention infrastructure established after the tsunami in South-East Asia in 2004, a tsunami-warning system? Here the potential crisis triggers a knowledge need and demand (no matter, if or when the crisis breaks out).
So for the global community, where access and connectivity cannot be taken for granted and were crisis situations are – sadly – not to be neglected, Knowledge Mobilization is a much wider field.
A field, where the Corporate Social Responsibility is contributing to a larger extent as before (in the following posts, I will show particular examples of all 3 kinds from an ICT company. Views from other industries (e.g. pharma) might add even more kinds, you tell me!



  1. Industry is an untapped resource for our KMb services. We deal primarily with government and community organizations but industry is next for us. All unviersities try to push technologies into industry (technology transfer, a form of knowledge transfer). We are seeking to work with industry to help with other knowledge needs such as human resources, entrepreneurship, export and markets, design, GIS etc. All unviersities have amazing research that can benefit decision making in companies but we privilege science & technology research and a unilateral technology push model of commercialization. We are seeking to have a broader relationship with industry based on a KMb model.

    Thanks for your posts. I look forward to mutually generating great ideas.

  2. @researchimpact
    In my opinion you are driving the right strategy: government & community organizations - should - have a "natural" self-motivation on KMb. So the challenge - I imagine - is more on the how and what, rather then on the fundamental if.
    For the industry internalization is quickly swallowed, as considered a free-of-charge/low cost win. However for a company to understand itself as an active driver (then to tackle the how and what) in KMb requires a mind-set that is quite challenging.
    First from the theoretical part, no all economist support at all the Corporate Social Responsibility.
    Then - even if accepted theoretically - CSR is often lip-praying and slideware and not anchored large-scale in the company.
    Tirdly KMb for the corporate must be understood as part of deploying CSR and not confused with Knowledge Management for the shareholder value. This includes also to ease KMb from Knowledge Security considerations.
    Finally in order to be sustainable, KMb - in my opinion - must be connected to the core business of the company (working for Ericsson, a prime driver in an all communicating world, this builds my perspective on "KMb to connect the community"), this is intrinsic for governmental and academic, but not so easy for a company making e.g. rubber boots.
    Puhh, a long way to go.

    upcoming post brings examples in the 3 defined areas.


  3. Extension:

    Knowledge Mobilization for crisis situation - recovery
    Recovery is not only limited to re-build technical infrastructure, but enables also people to live a "normal" life after a crisis situation (from a physical, but more over from a phychological point of view).


  4. another one related to Telco and Knowledge Mobilization for crisis situations:



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