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How to become an effective knowledge manager

Aberdeen CES
Aberdeen CES
Aberdeen CESAberdeen Centre for Environmental Sustainability at University of Aberdeen

This presentation asks what it takes to become an effective manager of knowledge beyond the individual, to the classroom, community and international scales. At these scales, might social learning provide a mechanism through which we can facilitate the spread of new ideas, and perhaps even attitudes and behaviours? The session will consider the possibilities, using case studies from the Sustainable Uplands project at the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, considering how we can each become more effective knowledge managers, and so affect change far beyond our immediate sphere of influence.

How to become an effective knowledge manager

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How to become an effective
   knowledge manager



        Mark Reed
1 What is knowledge?
Data              Information            Knowledge               Wisdom
• Raw numbers &   • Useful data (that    • Information that is   • “Constructive” use
  facts             has been analysed/     known by an             of knowledge
                    interpreted)           individual/group        (Matthews, 1997)
                                                                 • “Use of knowledge
                                                                   ...to achieve a
                                                                   common good”
                                                                   (Sternberg, 2001)
Different ways of viewing and
       constructing knowledge...
Universal truth generated
by reducing the world to
 its constituent parts to   Knowledge as a social
     test hypotheses
                             construction leading
                             to multiple realities
Different types of knowledge...
                          Knowledge Type

Local                                                     Generalised/Universal     Extent to which knowledge is locally
                                                                                    generated/relevant versus universal

Informal                                                  Formal                    Extent to which knowledge generated
                                                                                    via formal, codified processes

Novice                                                    Expert                    Extent to which those generating
                                                                                    knowledge are regarded as experts

Tacit                           Implicit                  Explicit                  Extent to which knowledge is
(cannot be articulated)     (not yet articulated)                                   articulated and accessible to others
                                                          (articulated)
                                                                                    Extent to which knowledge is
Traditional                                               Scientific                embedded in and reflects traditional
                                                                                    cultural values/norms, or in the
                                                                                    scientific method




  Raymond CM, Fazey I, Reed MS, Stringer LC, Robinson GM, Evely AC
  (2010) Integrating local and scientific knowledge for environmental management:
  From products to processes. Journal of Environmental Management 91: 1766-1777
Knowledge generation


                                                        Producers


                                                  Producers generate or
                                                      co-generate
                                                   knowledge together


                                 Knowledge                                    Knowledge
                                  Transfer
                                                          Know-
                                                           ledge
                                                                              Exchange
                                                                                                   Different ways of
                            Producers        Users                       Producers        Users
                            Producers        Users        Storage

                                                                            Two-way flow of
                                                                                                   managing
                              One-way flow of
                             existing knowledge                            existing knowledge
                                                                                                   knowledge...
                                                  Knowledge application

                                                           Users

                                                   Users apply knowledge
                                                   gained through transfer
                                                  or exchange and provide
                                                   feedback to or become
                                                  producers of knowledge




Reed MS, Fazey I, Stringer LC, Raymond CM, Akhtar-Schuster M, Begni G, Bigas H, Brehm S,
Briggs J, Bryce R, Buckmaster S, Chanda R, Davies J, Diez E, Essahli W, Evely A, Geeson N,
Hartmann I, Holden J, Hubacek K, Ioris I, Kruger B, Laureano P, Phillipson J, Prell C, Quinn CH,
Reeves AD, Seely M, Thomas R, van der Werff Ten Bosch MJ, Vergunst P, Wagner L (2011)
Knowledge management for land degradation monitoring and assessment: an analysis of
contemporary thinking. Land Degradation & Development

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How to become an effective knowledge manager

  • 1. How to become an effective knowledge manager Mark Reed
  • 2. 1 What is knowledge?
  • 3. Data Information Knowledge Wisdom • Raw numbers & • Useful data (that • Information that is • “Constructive” use facts has been analysed/ known by an of knowledge interpreted) individual/group (Matthews, 1997) • “Use of knowledge ...to achieve a common good” (Sternberg, 2001)
  • 4. Different ways of viewing and constructing knowledge... Universal truth generated by reducing the world to its constituent parts to Knowledge as a social test hypotheses construction leading to multiple realities
  • 5. Different types of knowledge... Knowledge Type Local Generalised/Universal Extent to which knowledge is locally generated/relevant versus universal Informal Formal Extent to which knowledge generated via formal, codified processes Novice Expert Extent to which those generating knowledge are regarded as experts Tacit Implicit Explicit Extent to which knowledge is (cannot be articulated) (not yet articulated) articulated and accessible to others (articulated) Extent to which knowledge is Traditional Scientific embedded in and reflects traditional cultural values/norms, or in the scientific method Raymond CM, Fazey I, Reed MS, Stringer LC, Robinson GM, Evely AC (2010) Integrating local and scientific knowledge for environmental management: From products to processes. Journal of Environmental Management 91: 1766-1777
  • 6. Knowledge generation Producers Producers generate or co-generate knowledge together Knowledge Knowledge Transfer Know- ledge Exchange Different ways of Producers Users Producers Users Producers Users Storage Two-way flow of managing One-way flow of existing knowledge existing knowledge knowledge... Knowledge application Users Users apply knowledge gained through transfer or exchange and provide feedback to or become producers of knowledge Reed MS, Fazey I, Stringer LC, Raymond CM, Akhtar-Schuster M, Begni G, Bigas H, Brehm S, Briggs J, Bryce R, Buckmaster S, Chanda R, Davies J, Diez E, Essahli W, Evely A, Geeson N, Hartmann I, Holden J, Hubacek K, Ioris I, Kruger B, Laureano P, Phillipson J, Prell C, Quinn CH, Reeves AD, Seely M, Thomas R, van der Werff Ten Bosch MJ, Vergunst P, Wagner L (2011) Knowledge management for land degradation monitoring and assessment: an analysis of contemporary thinking. Land Degradation & Development
  • 8. Lecturers? – Enabling students to gain new knowledge and put it in context
  • 9. Researchers? – Generating new knowledge, debating/sharing with their peers and communicating their findings
  • 11. 3 How do you manage knowledge?
  • 12. 3 How do you manage knowledge?
  • 13. e.g. internet, apps, podcasts, books, journals, Accessing lectures/classes, discussion existing with peers knowledge Internalising and Sharing adapting knowledge e.g. Making it your A learning via tweets, blogs/articles, your own insights discussing, mind maps & process Prezis, trying it out (a bit like Kolb?) e.g. written records of how you made it e.g. asking questions (and your own (e.g. often discovering existing Generating tweets, blogs, prezi knowledge), and where Storing etc.), (social?) new there are no answers, knowledge bookmarks, audio designing research to knowledge notes, databases of answer them your reading
  • 14. Our own knowledge A class’s knowledge A community’s knowledge? The knowledge of communities of practice/interest at national and international scales? The knowledge necessary to implement and monitor international policy processes? All of the above?
  • 15. 5 How? A role for social learning?
  • 16. A change in understanding among individuals What is social learning (SL)? Beyond the SL individual/group scale to reach wider social Via social units or communities interactions/processes of practice within society Reed MS, Evely AC--, Cundill G, Fazey I, Glass J, Laing A, Newig J, Parrish B, Prell C, Raymond C, Stringer LC (2010) What is social learning? Ecology & Society 15 (4): r1. [online] URL: http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol15/iss4/resp1/
  • 17. The promise of social learning... – Transformative ideas, attitudes and behaviours that diffuse rapidly through peer-to-peer networks to affect social change across spatial scales Hype... or reality?
  • 18. With the growing use of social media platforms, it is possible for new knowledge to “go viral” in seconds...
  • 19. > 1 hour before Obama’s news conference, Keith Urbahn (Chief of Staff to Donald Rumsfeld, just over 1000 followers) tweeted the news Re-posted 80 times in first minute, over 300 times within two minutes
  • 20. Then picked up by NYTimes reporter, Brian Stelter (>50K followers)
  • 21. • By the time Obama addressed the nation at 23.30 EST, the news was being mentioned on Twitter 30,000 times per minute • A number of others guessed the news earlier and were ignored – impact is about credibility of source as much as it about connectedness http://blog.socialflow.com/post/5246404319/breaking-bin-laden-visualizing-the-power-of-a-single
  • 22. But not everyone has access to knowledge in this way...
  • 23. ...often those who need the knowledge most
  • 24. 6 Social learning at international scales
  • 25. We need: 1. Diverse, socially-connected media 2. To institutionalise social learning
  • 26. 1. Diverse, socially-connected media – Adapted to different learning preferences – Fully accessible, no matter how remote or disadvantaged the audience – Keeping in mind that people learn best from other people, and that all learning is socially mediated
  • 27. 2. Institutionalising social learning – The incorporation of local knowledge and opinion in environmental decision-making is increasingly being institutionalised e.g. Aarhus Convention, WFD
  • 28. – But often operates in consultation or communication modes, so we need to institutionalise: • Respect for different sources of knowledge, from local to scientific, to facilitate two-way exchange and (where relevant) integration of knowledges • Social forms of communication that facilitate engagement with and adaptation of new knowledge to local contexts e.g. Web 2.0, effective engagement with local groups/associations
  • 29. 7 Two short case studies
  • 30. • The Sustainable Uplands project – Reed MS, Bonn A, Slee W, Beharry-Borg N, Birch J, Brown I, Burt TP, Chapman D, Chapman PJ, Clay G, Cornell SJ, Fraser EDG, Holden J, Hodgson JA, Hubacek K, Irvine B, Jin N, Kirkby MJ, Kunin WE, Moore O, Moseley D, Prell C, Quinn C, Redpath S, Reid C, Stagl S, Stringer LC, Termansen M, Thorp S, Towers W, Worrall F (2009) The future of the uplands. Land Use Policy 26S: S204– S216 Funded by • The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) – Reed MS, Buenemann, M, Atlhopheng J, Akhtar-Schuster M, Bachmann F, Bastin G, Bigas H, Chanda R, Dougill AJ, Essahli W, Evely AC, Fleskens L, Geeson N, Glass JH, Hessel R, Holden J, Ioris A, Kruger B, Liniger HP, Mphinyane W, Nainggolan D, Perkins J, Raymond CM, Ritsema CJ, Schwilch G, Sebego R, Seely M, Stringer LC, Thomas R, Twomlow S, Verzandvoort S (2011) Cross-scale monitoring and assessment of land degradation and sustainable land management: a methodological framework for knowledge management. Land Degradation & Development 22: 261-271 Funded by
  • 32. Knowledge exchange with stakeholders: • Co-generation of knowledge with small but representative groups of highly connected, influential stakeholders, selected via Social Network Analysis
  • 33. • You Tube and DVDs – as requested by stakeholders concerned about the abstract nature of the GIS outputs we’d suggested • Articles in professional journals/magazines • Newsletters • Project websites
  • 34. • Policy briefs • Presentations to policy makers, policy advisors and practitioner groups • DEFRA placement • Consultancy contracts
  • 35. Public engagement: • Twitter (now over 1400 followers) www.twitter.com/reluuplands • Interactive website www.ouruplands.co.uk • Schools resources (March 2012)
  • 36. Arts: • Song and music video by award-winning photography collective • Jazz composition by Huw Warren • Conceptual art by Dalziel & Scullion (hunting bag) • Traditional story told by a storyteller and made into a children’s book
  • 38. The first international environmental convention to explicitly consider local as well as scientific knowledge, and involve CSOs in the process of developing and implementing policy
  • 39. Now interested in developing a knowledge management system to facilitate monitoring and assessment of land degradation from local (field) scales, to regional, national and international scales
  • 40. For example in southern Africa: – Land degradation indicators developed to combine local and scientific knowledge of early changes in rangeland function/condition in Botswana & Namibia – Enable land managers to reliably monitor change themselves without external assistance
  • 41. – FIRM groups in Namibia integrating monitoring results to regional level where farmers can provide each other with support & advice and access help from extension services – Results gathered by FIRM groups inform national land degradation monitoring & assessment
  • 42. – Potential for this model to be replicated elsewhere to provide an international picture of land degradation severity & extent, based on locally derived measurements that incorporate local knowledge? – Being discussed at UNCCD 10th Conference of the Parties this week – Already being used to evaluate all the UN’s Global Environment Facility funded Sustainable Land Management projects
  • 45. • We are all knowledge managers, and can probably get better at managing knowledge • By becoming more effective knowledge managers, we can affect change far beyond our immediate sphere of influence
  • 46. Contact Mark Reed Senior Lecturer, Centre for Planning & Environmental Management, School of Geosciences, University of Aberdeen m.reed@abdn.ac.uk www.twitter.com/lecmsr www.see.leeds.ac.uk/sustainableuplands Thanks to: Anna Evely, Ioan Fazey & Lindsay Stringer from Sustainable Uplands and DESIRE for helping develop these ideas