Knowledge broker

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A Knowledge broker is an intermediary (an organization or a person), that aims to develop relationships and networks with, among, and between producers and users of knowledge by providing linkages, knowledge sources, and in some cases knowledge itself, (e.g. technical know-how, market insights, research evidence) to organizations in its network.

While the exact role and function of knowledge brokers are conceptualized and operationalized differently in various sectors and settings, a key feature appears to be the facilitation of knowledge exchange or sharing between and among various stakeholders, including researchers, practitioners, and policy makers.

A knowledge broker may operate in multiple markets and technology domains. [1] The concept of knowledge brokers is closely related to the concept of knowledge spillovers.

In the fields of public health, applied health services research, and social sciences, knowledge brokers are often referred to as bridges or intermediaries [2] [3] [4] [5]

that link producers of research evidence to users of research evidence as a means of facilitating collaboration to identify issues, solve problems ,[6] and promote evidence-informed decision making (EIDM), which is the process of critically appraising and incorporating the best available research evidence, along with evidence from multiple other sources into policy and practice decisions [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] .[13] Using a knowledge broker to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and the adoption of insights is one strategy in the broader field of Knowledge Management.

Function[edit]

Knowledge brokers facilitate the transfer and exchange of knowledge from where it is abundant to where it is needed, thereby supporting co-development and improving the innovative capability of organizations in their network. In the field of public health, knowledge brokers facilitate the appropriate use of the best available research evidence in decision making processes, enhancing individual and organizational capacity to participate effectively in evidence-informed decision making. In this setting, knowledge brokers promote research use. [7] [14]

Knowledge brokers are typically involved in the following activities below:[1]

  • Assessing barriers and establishing access to knowledge (i.e. screening and recognizing valuable knowledge across organizations and industries)
  • Learning (e.g. internalizing experiences from a diverse range of perspectives including those of industry, technology or health disciplines)
  • Linking of separate knowledge pools (e.g. through joint research, consulting services, and developing a mutual understanding of goals and cultures
  • Supporting knowledge and skill development
  • Facilitating individual/organizational capacity development for knowledge use (e.g., assessing current knowledge use, absorptive and receptive capacity, and readiness for change)
  • Implementing knowledge in new settings (e.g. combining existing knowledge in new ways)

Expertise[edit]

Knowledge brokers provide a link between the producers and users of knowledge. To facilitate this knowledge exchange, knowledge brokers are required to build rapport with their target audiences and forge new connections across domains. [14] [15] [16] [17] [18]

A successful knowledge broker will possess:

  • Expertise in synthesizing and adapting information for use in different local contexts
  • A non-judgemental, respectful manner
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Strong interpersonal and networking skills
  • An understanding of the context, processes, and key influencers of both the producers and users of knowledge
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Critical reflection abilities and practices
  • Strategic planning skills and experience
  • An understanding of adult education principles and practices

Examples of knowledge brokers[edit]

Every individual or organization, which has access to knowledge from several, unconnected entities, can theoretically act as a knowledge broker. Certain types of organizations have been identified to be acting primarily as knowledge brokers:

  • Dedicated knowledge brokers [19]

(i.e. ESADE Creapolis, IMCG and Sociedade Portuguesa de Inovação)

  • Venture capitalists [20]
  • Consulting firms[1]
  • Evidence-informed decision making support organizations (e.g., Health EvidenceTM,[21] which offers dedicated knowledge brokers to mentor or facilitate evidence-informed decision making in public health organizations,[7][14][22][23][24][25] and the National Collaborating Centre for Methods and Tools,[26] which has knowledge brokers facilitating a public health Community of Practice

Climate change knowledge broker initiative[edit]

A project funded by the Climate & Development Knowledge Network is aiming to integrate sources of climate change information and tailor data into relevant information products. Access to reliable information and data, and the ability to share lessons and experience, are considered key ingredients in tackling climate change, particularly within developing countries. However, although numerous websites, portals and online platforms have been set up to provide such information, the ‘knowledge infrastructure’ within the climate and development sector is still weak. The project aims to fill some of the gaps and provide bridges between isolated initiatives.[27]

A study by IISD investigated the value of knowledge brokers within the climate change sphere.[28] Interviews and surveys were conducted with more than 200 online climate change information users to understand their needs, preferences and behaviours. The findings were published in the paper "A user-oriented analysis of online knowledge brokering platforms for climate change and development". This publication identifies potential areas for innovation in online knowledge brokering and highlights the need for taking climate knowledge brokering beyond its online functions.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Hargadon, Andrew B. (1998), "Firms as Knowledge Brokers: Lessons in Pursuing Continuous Innovation", California Management Review 40 (3): 209–227, doi:10.2307/41165951 
  2. ^ Jonathan Lomas (January 2007). "The in-between world of knowledge brokering". BMJ (Clinical research ed.) 334 (7585): 129–132. doi:10.1136/bmj.39038.593380.AE. PMC 1779881. PMID 17235094. 
  3. ^ Verona, G.; Prandelli, E.; Sawhney, M. (2006), "Innovation and virtual environments: Towards virtual knowledge brokers", Organization Studies 27 (6): 765–788, doi:10.1177/0170840606061073 
  4. ^ John N. Lavis (Winter 2006). "Research, public policymaking, and knowledge-translation processes: Canadian efforts to build bridges". The Journal of continuing education in the health professions 26 (1): 37–45. doi:10.1002/chp.49. PMID 16557509. 
  5. ^ Lyons, R.; Warner, G; Langille, L; Phillips, SJ (2006). "Piloting knowledge brokers to promote integrated stroke vare in Atlantic Canada.". Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Institute for Population and Public Health, editor. Moving population and public health knowledge into action: A casebook of knowledge translation stories. Ottawa, ON: Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Institute for Population and Public Health. 
  6. ^ A. Kitson, G. Harvey & B. McCormack (September 1998). "Enabling the implementation of evidence based practice: a conceptual framework". Quality in health care : QHC 7 (3): 149–158. doi:10.1136/qshc.7.3.149. PMC 2483604. PMID 10185141. 
  7. ^ a b c Robeson, Paula; M. Dobbins; K. Decorby (2008). "Life as a knowledge broker in public health". Journal of the Canadian Health Libraries Association (JCHLA/JABSC) 29: 78–82. Retrieved 2011-10-17. 
  8. ^ R. C. Brownson, J. G. Gurney & G. H. Land (September 1999). "Evidence-based decision making in public health". Journal of public health management and practice : JPHMP 5 (5): 86–97. doi:10.1097/00124784-199909000-00012. PMID 10558389. 
  9. ^ Canadian Health Services Research Foundation (2003). The theory and practice of knowledge brokering in Canada's health systemThe theory and practice of knowledge brokering in Canada's health system. Ottawa, ON: Canadian Health Services Research Foundation. 
  10. ^ Canadian Health Services Research Foundation (2004). Knowledge brokering demonstration site competition. Ottawa, ON: Canadian Health Services Research Foundation. 
  11. ^ Jessika van Kammen, Don de Savigny & Nelson Sewankambo (August 2006). "Using knowledge brokering to promote evidence-based policy-making: The need for support structures". Bulletin of the World Health Organization 84 (8): 608–612. doi:10.2471/blt.05.028308. PMC 2627440. PMID 16917647. 
  12. ^ Hartwich, F; von Oppen, M (2000). "Knowledge brokers in agricultural research and extension". In Graef, F.; Lawrence, P.; von Oppen, M. Adapted Farming in West Africa: Issues, Potentials, and Perspectives. Stuttgart, Germany: Verlag Ulrich E. Grauer. pp. 445–453. 
  13. ^ Jackson-Bowers, E.M.; Kalucy, E.C.; McIntyre, E.L. (2006). Focus on...Knowledge brokering. Adelaide, AU: Primary Health Care Research and Information Service. 
  14. ^ a b c Maureen Dobbins, Paula Robeson, Donna Ciliska, Steve Hanna, Roy Cameron, Linda O'Mara, Kara DeCorby & Shawna Mercer (2009). "A description of a knowledge broker role implemented as part of a randomized controlled trial evaluating three knowledge translation strategies". Implementation science : IS 4: 23. doi:10.1186/1748-5908-4-23. PMC 2680804. PMID 19397820. 
  15. ^ Cillo, P. (2005), "Fostering market knowledge use in innovation: The role of internal brokers", European Management Journal 23: 404–412, doi:10.1016/j.emj.2005.06.008 
  16. ^ Hargadon, A.B. (2002), "Brokering knowledge: Linking learning and innovation", Research in Organizational behavior 24: 41–85, doi:10.1016/s0191-3085(02)24003-4, ISBN 0762308788 
  17. ^ F. (2004), "Networking for knowledge transfer: towards an understanding of local authority roles in regional industrial ecosystem management", Business Strategy and the Environment 13: 334–345, doi:10.1002/bse.419 
  18. ^ Lyons, R.; G. Warner (2005-02-03). "Demystifying knowledge translation for stroke research: A primer on theory and praxis" (PDF). Canadian Stroke Network. Retrieved 2011-10-17. 
  19. ^ Sousa, Milton (2008), "Open innovation models and the role of knowledge brokers", Inside Knowledge Magazine, retrieved 2008-11-27 
  20. ^ Zook, Mathew A. (2004), "The knowledge brokers: venture capitalists, tacit knowledge and regional development", International Journal of Urban and Regional Research International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 28 (3): 621–641, doi:10.1111/j.0309-1317.2004.00540.x 
  21. ^ [1], health-evidence.ca
  22. ^ Decorby, K.; P. Robeson; M. Dobbins; M. Varia; S. Fernane; A. Lane (June 2011), "Results of a knowledge brokering intervention to promote evidence informed public health decision making", Paper presented at the Canadian Public Health Association Centenary Conference (PowerPoint slides), Toronto, ON., retrieved 2011-10-17 
  23. ^ Dobbins, M.; L. Greco, K. Decorby, M. Ward, B. Bryant (June 2011), "A case story: Evidence-informed decision making in public health in Canada", Paper presented at FUSE 2011 (PowerPoint slides), Durham City, UK., retrieved 2011-10-17 
  24. ^ Ward, M.; B. Bryant, L. Greco, J. McGowan (June 2011), "An EIDM Journey: Help is out there!", Paper presented at the Canadian Public Health Association 2011 Conference (PowerPoint slides), Montreal, QC., retrieved 2011-10-17 
  25. ^ Maureen Dobbins, Paula Robeson, Donna Ciliska, Steve Hanna, Roy Cameron, Linda O'Mara, Kara DeCorby & Shawna Mercer (2009). "A description of a knowledge broker role implemented as part of a randomized controlled trial evaluating three knowledge translation strategies". Implementation science : IS 4: 23. doi:10.1186/1748-5908-4-23. PMC 2680804. PMID 19397820. 
  26. ^ [2], National Collaborating Centre for Methods and Tools
  27. ^ Knowledge brokers collaboration: linking stakeholders to integrated climate change data Downloaded 31 July 2013
  28. ^ How important are climate knowledge brokers? Downloaded 31 July 2013