How to be an effective knowedge manager

Posted by sustainable on January 27, 2012  

It has often been said that “knowledge is power”. The pursuit of knowledge has built civilisations and led to their downfall. Governments invest in research that they hope will generate knowledge to power their economies and heal their sick. New knowledge is being generated every day about the world we live in, and is increasingly at our fingertips via the internet. But how can we filter out misleading information and harness the power of this knowledge to manage our environment more effectively in the face of social and climate change?

Knowledge Management

Knowledge management is increasingly seen as critical for effective management of social- ecological relationships. In parallel to its importance for effective environmental manage- ment, there is increasing pressure from universities to enhance the impact of research through meaningful knowledge management. Knowledge exchange is one aspect of knowledge management gaining recent attention. There are many definitions of knowledge exchange, but generally it refers to the process of sharing, using, and co-generating information through various methods that are appropriate to the context, audience and purpose of communication. In the context of sustainability ‘knowledge exchange’ is often seen as a means for creating new sustainable outcomes and behaviours. In this stage of the Sustainable Uplands project we are working to build an evidence base for the sorts of knowledge exchange process that are most likely to achieve their goals, and to improve our theoretical under- standing of how knowledge exchange processes work.

Why do we need an improved approach to knowledge management?

In our latest briefing note we consider how to be an effective knowledge manager, so we can work together more effectively for a sustainable future. There has been a growing emphasis on finding ways to improve the communication, accessibility, and the potential impact of research findings in social, environmental and economic contexts. This has led to an abundance of approaches and methods for communicating and exchanging knowledge, which have yet to be properly evaluated. However, the majority of processes are rarely founded on current understanding of how knowledge is generated, exchanged and transformed in socio-ecological systems. It is rarely recognised that the way knowledge is perceived and constructed will affect the process and outcomes of knowledge exchange processes; this has implications for the co- generation, acceptance and use of knowledge, and ultimately, how complex sustainability problems are approached and knowledge is manage. To read more about becoming an effective knowledge manager download our brief and feel free to add your voice to this discussion. We would love to hear your thoughts!

Mark and the Sustainable Learning team

Policy Brief: how to be an effective knowledge manager