A few months ago at a What Works Scotland event I had an insightful conversation with someone from Police Scotland. He told me that, part of his new ‘local knowledge coordinator’ post involves learning about local support available and sharing it with the community. He explained that after hearing me speak at our roundtable about the Knowledge Translation Network (KTN) and the Scottish Third Sector Research Forum networks that Evaluation Support Scotland (ESS) convenes and manages, he was curious about them.
I explained that these networks aim to shine a light on research and evidence from/about the third sector, and that ‘knowledge exchange’ (KE) was the approach we took. From his facial expression I could tell that I had lost him in the jargon!
Using Edinburgh University’s definition I explained that KE is “a process, which brings together academic staff, users of research and wider groups and communities to exchange ideas, evidence and expertise”. Smiling he responded, “that’s what I do on a daily basis, isn’t it? I do knowledge exchange!”
That conversation got me thinking... KE has been around for a while. It’s not something that only academics do/are interested in either. Sure, academics might want to learn about KE as a process, but ‘exchanging knowledge’ is something we all do. We communicate with others about what we do, how we do it and the difference it makes!
So why does KE create such a buzz these days? Perhaps it’s because knowledge brokers like Interface, ESS, Iriss or Centre for Research on Families and Relationships (and many more!) use the KE process to help people connect across sectors to: “develop products, test ideas and deliver new processes and services which can make a real difference to peoples lives as well as tackling wider societal and economic challenges.” Siobhán Jordan, Interface – The knowledge connection for business, at Scottish KE Awards.
These organisations act as catalysts for third sector/academia relationships. They host events such as the Scottish KE Awards and produce ‘collaborating with academics’ guidance (to be published by the KTN on 17 March so check it out!) to help sectors connect.
So happy 10th anniversary to colleagues at Interface! And here’s to 10 more years of making connections across Scotland!