The “godfather” of consultants, Alan Weiss Ph.D., defines a consultant as: someone who provides value through specialized expertise, content, behavior, skill, or other resources to assist a client improving the status quo in return for mutually agreed-upon compensation. A consultant improves the client’s condition.”
The consultant provides value.
I have argued that knowledge mobilization is: making what we know ready for service or action to create value.
There are many definitions (90+ definitions for use of research http://www.ecmaj.ca/content/181/3-4/165.full) for terms similar to knowledge mobilization. However, where the proverbial rubber hits the road, is the support of exchange processes that lead to value creation.
There are many forms of value. The are many ways of measuring value. From my experience with a broad range of clients, the most important value from knowledge mobilization is creating value for them, in their contexts, helping to find solutions to their problems.
As a consultant, it is our job to help define the problem and the elements of possible solutions. Our job is also to assist in the process of building the capacity of people within an organization. We assist in building a culture that leads to using assessed knowledge, whether from research or experience, to address the complex issues they face. Building capacity when linked to ongoing practice creates culture.
Culture is what we do everyday. Culture will eat strategy every day of the week – for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with snacks in between. A knowledge mobilization culture within any organization may be many things, but what seems to be emerging is a culture of networked people who collaborate within their organization, between organizations, and with people and knowledge from external locales to solve problems.
Although being a “knowledge mobilization consultant” appears to be a strange profession – it certainly doesn’t show up on the list of occupations my kids were given by their high school guidance counselor – it is one I am proud and passionate to be fully engaged in.
Consulting helps to support the exchange processes by bringing content, expertise, knowledge, behavior, special skills, and contacts into a realm of human endeavor that may lead to positive outcomes that the client believes in.
Fundamentally, a consultant helps a client better understand what their beliefs. This helps them use knowledge to build the “how” and “what” which is their day-to-day activities.
This is my belief and the evidence to support that belief is growing.
ps: if you have a moment, watch this great video by Simon Sinek