Creating an international membership-driven organization for knowledge mobilization professionals

by Peter Levesque on March 11, 2012 · 9 comments

in Announcements,KMb Events

David Yetman ( and Peter Levesque ( have been talking about launching the process of creating an international organization for knowledge mobilization professionals for several months.  To keep things simple, we have been calling it “Knowledge Mobilization International”.

We think that it is time to bring people together, to share our practices across sectors, and to learn and apply this learning to those places where we each focus our energies.  The image that comes to mind is the sine wave – a wave pattern that occurs often in nature, including ocean waves, sound waves, and light waves.

We each have a rhythm as we go through our professional lives.  Sometimes the peaks are spectacular. Sometimes the valleys are deep and lonely.  I think that a professional community that we can draw from and contribute to, can improve both the development of knowledge mobilization as a field of practice and the quality of the work that we each do with our clients, in our institutions and in our communities.

The draft vision is: Knowledge mobilization professionals are recognized as an integral part of creating value and benefits from the knowledge production and implementation cycles across sectors of societies internationally – in fulfillment of making access to knowledge a human right.

The draft mission is: To link knowledge mobilization professionals to each other. To support their learning and professional development. To create and sustain venues for ongoing exchange of these professionals and locales where their skills are needed.  To recognize and reward the highest standards to knowledge mobilization practice across sectors.

In the first phase of development, Knowledge Mobilization International, will seek to accomplish the following goals:

  1. Provide an online home for knowledge mobilization professionals to assemble and learn from each other and complementary resources.
  2. Provide regular meetings to bring people face to face to create communities of practice for intellectual and practice development.
  3. Identify existing resources and encourage the building of new professional development resources to support apprenticeship, personal mastery, and advancement of knowledge mobilization as a professional practice.
  4. Build a dynamic group of members who contribute to and draw from the collective knowledge of the profession.
  5. Recognize and reward superior knowledge mobilization practices.

Your thoughts and input are most welcome.  Please comment below.

A discussion of this initiative will also be part of the following events:

5th Living Knowledge Conference in Bonn, Germany, May 10-12, 2012

Canadian Knowledge Mobilization Forum in Ottawa June 19-20, 2012


{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Bonnie Zink March 11, 2012 at 4:01 pm

This is a fantastic plan, Peter. I’m excited about the possibilities and left wondering how one becomes involved. Count me in, when the time comes.


Peter Levesque March 12, 2012 at 5:24 pm

Thanks Bonnie – your influence and social media expertise are crucial pieces.


David Phipps March 11, 2012 at 4:30 pm

Interesting idea from two of Canada’s great KMb entrepreneurs. Thanks for starting this initiative.

Count me in.

I am also part of the K* international knowledge intermediaries initiative – for info see

I wonder if there’s an opportunity for each to benefit from the others’ energies. I look forward to more at CDN KMb Forum. Let me know how I can help support this.

David Phipps


Peter Levesque March 12, 2012 at 5:31 pm

Alex Bielak and I have had a series of conversations over the past weeks. The Green Paper from his event will be shared with Forum participants. We have also had some interesting thoughts about how to link this initiative to the UN work he is doing – some form of Institute.

My thoughts based on reaction from the UK, Germany, and Singapore is a membership structure that will include: Networks, Government Departments/Agencies, Large Education/Civil Institutions (+500), Business/Industry, Small NGO/Civil Organizations (499-), Small/Medium Enterprise, Individual Agents/Consultants/Researchers, and Student categories.

The goal is not to replace existing structures – which are important for contextual action but to link them together and enhance their K* work.


Melanie Barwick March 12, 2012 at 2:15 pm

Peter, as you know, the KTE community established the Ontario KTE Community of Practice over a number of years ago, with the intent of connecting KT practitioners and researchers on real world KT/KM work. This has become a place for KT practitioners to connect across Canada. We have been in discussion recently around augmenting our presence on Wordpress ( to go national, to reflect the ktecop chapters that have arisen in BC, Saskatoon, and Ottawa (with you!). We will also be expanding the ways we can interact on the site. Thus, I feel what we’ve developed and have been growing over several years, already has begun to achieve what you have posted above. While it can certainly reach out beyond Canada, to the International community as you’ve suggested, I think starting to engage folks within Canada to contribute, share, learn, would reflect a good start and would in no means limit others from participating. Your thoughts?


Peter Levesque March 12, 2012 at 5:35 pm

Melanie, I think the work you have done with KTECoP is great! I see this initiative enhancing what you have already done but at a different scale. See my comments above re: David Phipps.


Luc Dancause March 12, 2012 at 4:19 pm

Very interesting! Many people in Quebec will be interested in that project.

You can count me in too!

Thank you to both of you.

Luc Dancause


Peter Levesque March 12, 2012 at 5:36 pm

Thanks Luc. Your help is really needed.


Alex Bielak April 1, 2012 at 11:10 am


It is good to see evidence of convergent evolution! When Peter and I we met several months ago we discussed my ideal end goal of a professionalized k* field with an overarching global association etc. Perhaps even the formation of a K* Institute! The focus on an Institute is perhaps misleading, however, though it could be an ultimate outcome. (I need to credit the kernel of that “think big” idea of an Institute to Mark Chamberlain, a prominent Hamilton businessman, who expressed an interest in what we were doing with the K* Initiative.)

One of a number of outcomes for the K* initiative – which had its formal genesis at the CSPC in 2010 – is to develop an international learning network (aka Community of Practice) devoted to this emerging field. It is good to see that others see a value in this and have been thinking on the same lines. Given the momentum and buy-in for the K* initiative with a variety of international players (with great support by Canadian leaders like David Phipps and others), including donor agencies interested in the future, one of the key things we want to do is help in aggregating K* resources by linking existing initiatives, sectoral websites and archives. I think there is a great deal of sense in trying to converge where we can. It all goes to show that there is a clear need for professionalization in the K* field.

With the generous support of OMAFRA the K* conference will be webcast so as to extend the reach of what is essentially a small working conference. Watch the conference website for details

Finally I was delighted to be invited by Peter to come and speak about the K* initiative at the Canadian KMb Forum in June and look forward to meeting folk there.

Alex Bielak

Ps; Allow me also to expand on K* and the Summit:

What is K* (KStar)?
Within the worlds of research and policy there is growing awareness of, and commitment to, the role of intermediaries and intermediary organizations. They are increasingly seen – by various parties including research providers, users and funders – as important in ensuring that:

• Research directions are informed by the potential users;
• Users are strategically involved in the research; and
• Research findings are accessible and actually used in decision making.

Knowledge Intermediaries are playing key roles in considering how relationships between policy and practice, research and other types of knowledge can be made to function better. They are practicing Knowledge Management (KM), Knowledge Mobilization (KMb), Knowledge Translation and Transfer (KTT), Knowledge Brokering (KB), Knowledge Adoption (KA) and a number of other activities which collectively we term K* (KStar).

The K* Summit

The first-ever K* Summit takes place over the course of four days in Hamilton at the end of April. It will establish a baseline understanding of the global K* community and the beginnings of a global learning network, along with the mechanisms to sustain it. We’ll also continue and broaden the conversation through the development of “state of the art” wiki‐based green (and ultimately) white papers.

We are keenly aware that what is being learned in some countries and sectors is not known about in others. The summit will begin to identify some of the many ‘low hanging fruit’ with the ultimate outcome of achieving improved efficiency and accelerating the impact of initiatives as a result of these improved linkages.

One of the key things we want to do is help in aggregating K* resources by linking existing initiatives, sectoral websites and archives.

Who is organizing it?

The event is being convened by the United Nations University (Hosted in Canada by the Canadian Govt. and McMaster University), in concert with a variety of Canadian and International partners. Key partners from Canada are IDRC, NRCan and the Canadian Water Network, with significant additional support from PHAC, OMAFRA, Neurodevnet, York University and the City of Hamilton.

Who will be represented at the K*2012 Summit?

The meeting has deliberately been kept as a small working and networking event. We have confirmed ~60 delegates include many of the world’s key K* actors playing key/senior roles in a variety of organizations and government departments, as well as academics working in the field.

Their collective expertise covers a broad range of sectors (e.g. social innovation, education, agriculture, health, sustainability) and roles (e.g. government, intermediary, end user, academia) across most of the globe. They are working about evenly, but not exclusively, on K* matters related to: civil society, industry, practitioners and government.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: