Jul 12, 2018



Knowledge mobilization encompass a wide spectrum of processes and techniques designed to enable productive exchanges across multiple and diverse audiences. It is a fast-developing profession which uses multi-disciplinary practices and techniques to disseminate evidence, research, and expertise in support of intelligent decision-making.

Four Guiding Principles

Follow these four principles below to increase your value proposition as a young knowledge professional.

BE ENGAGED: In the global knowledge economy, practitioners are valued for who they know not just what they know. Access to informal networks can be a key differentiator in the marketplace of ideas. The ability to access information from credible and trusted sources significantly reduces the transaction cost of knowledge mobilization and knowledge transfers. To that end, participating in a broad spectrum of interactive public events both within and outside of work is an excellent way to grow your network “intelligence.”

  • Maximize your network “intelligence” by joining groups, attending collaborative workshops, and urban planning exercises which attract a diversity of perspectives, experiences, and viewpoints.
  • Challenge yourself to empathize with individuals who share different or contrarian viewpoints. On contentious issues, pay less attention to what they are saying and more on the “place” from where they speak.   

BE CURIOUS: Intelligent decision-making involves more than a search for answers. It includes a critical analysis of what we currently know, what we don’t know, and what we will need to know in the future. The design of productive knowledge exchanges should include a “space” for asking powerful questions and for challenging the conventional wisdom. Invariably, researching complex issues also generate new questions. In that regard, knowledge mobilization is an organic process. It begins with individuals who are inherently curious about the world and who appreciate that learning is a life-long commitment.  

  • Actively scan the operating and strategic environment to identify emerging issues and to anticipate questions ahead of others.   
  • Learn the value of asking “What If?” questions to surface untested assumptions and to open a critical space for breakthrough insights.

BE GENEROUS: Productive knowledge exchanges are often activated by generous acts of sharing among individuals and between organizations. Proactive knowledge sharing facilitates social trust and progress towards mutually beneficial outcomes. There is a prosaic dimension to this as well since knowledge that is neither shared or actionable is merely information. Organizations that are slow in developing a “need to share” culture can compensate by donating meeting room space to not-for-profit organizations. Opening organizational facilities helps build social capital among cash-strapped community groups.    

  • Develop a mind-share attitude that values sharing knowledge as much as capturing knowledge.
  • Actively “mine” the value of interactive workshops for cross-functional insights that can be shared freely with managers, co-workers, clients, and partner organizations.

BE AGILE: Innovation often happens at the intersection of different but complimentary disciplines. As such, contemporary knowledge workers need to function effectively in dynamic and collaborative arrangements such as a research team or community of practice. The most effective knowledge mobilization practitioners broker connections between two or more different professional networks, enabling them to create valuable spill-over effects. Relocating to a gateway city or knowledge hub, either temporarily or permanently, is an excellent way to increase the value of your social capital.  

  • Become a catalyst for meaningful change by strengthening your ability to triangulate issues and to combine different perspectives in an integrated manner.  
  • Expand your social and professional networks by attending a two or three-day professional certificate program which lies outside your intellectual “comfort-zone” and away from your home city.     

Concluding Remarks

Enduring social and economic value is created when loosely structured networks of highly-engaged individuals and assets are activated to brainstorm novel ideas, synthesize unique insights, build bonds of trust, and to tackle ambiguous problems. Use the four principles above to establish yourself as a knowledge innovator who is committed to catalyzing purpose-driven change.   

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