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Andrew Campbell Triple Helix Consulting Special Workshop on Knowledge Brokering & Translation, Montreal 20.10.2010

Alex Bielak Science & Technology Liaison Division, Environment Canada

Canadian Water Network



Personal declarations • Farming background south-western Victoria (SE Australia) – Family farming in the district since 1860s, own farm managed since 1987 – 450ha near Cavendish: 30% farm forestry, 10% environmental reserves, 60% leased to a neighbour for prime lambs

• Studies in forestry, rural sociology and knowledge systems Melbourne University & Wageningen (The Netherlands) • Forester, Victorian government 1981-84 • Manager, Potter Farmland Plan 1984-88 • First National Landcare Facilitator ‘89-92 • Environment Australia 1995-2000 •4 CEO Land & Water Australia 2000-06


• Australia, and Land & Water Australia • Converging insecurities • Applied Science 5

Converging Insecurities • Climate change

– Direct impacts – Impacts of climate change policies – e.g. carbon markets

• Water – Every calorie we consume uses one litre in its production – Every litre weighs one kilogram — energy intensive to distribute it – Per capita freshwater availability declining steeply

• Energy — the era of cheap, abundant fossil fuels is coming to a close • Food — need to increase world production by 70% by 2050 – Using less land, water & energy and emitting less carbon – Improving nutrition, distribution, animal welfare, pollution – Looking after rural landscapes, amenity & communities 6

Australia: through the macroscope • a small young nation in a vast, ancient continent • unique biological & cultural richness and diversity • highly urbanised population concentrated in southern & coastal regions • vast interior and remote, ‘empty’ North associated with disadvantaged and dysfunctional Indigenous communities • few people and dollars per unit landscape • malleable institutions, but cumbersome federal apparatus 7

 Feds have the $$, States have the constitutional mandate

Australia: through the macroscope (2) • rapid, pervasive climate change – against a background of extreme climatic variability – extreme events (fires, floods, droughts, storms)

• messy, ill-informed debates around climate change and water, illuminate and exacerbate the science-policy divide • science increasingly presented as if it was (just another) opinion • sophisticated, well-funded campaigns by vested interests disputing mainstream science • media feeling bound to present ‘both sides of the story’ symmetrically and ‘impartially’ • decreasing scientific literacy in politics and media 8

Land & Water Australia ♦

One of 14 Rural R&D Corporations and related companies – Commonwealth Statutory Authority (PIERD Act 1989)

research to support sustainable resource management

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

buys, brokers and manages research, doesn’t do it managed corporately, independent Board (CAC Act) $13m appropriation; ~$40m R&D spend (2007-8) >45 co-investing partners

9 POSTSCRIPT: LWA abolished in May 2009 federal budget

Immense technical challenges 1. To decouple economic growth from carbon emissions 2. To increase water productivity,

decoupling the every calorie = 1 litre relationship

3. To increase energy productivity – –

more food energy out per unit of energy in while shifting from fossil fuels to renewable energy

1. To develop more sustainable food systems – –

while conserving biodiversity and improving landscape amenity, soil health, animal welfare & human health

1. To achieve all of the above simultaneously! 10

The Cynefin knowledge framework* • Climate change spans all of these domains • If temp increase > 2ºC, then disorder & chaos will reign • The challenge is to handle the necessary range of simultaneous responses


– to work in all of these domains at once – to develop a system-wide perspective – & the knowledge systems and learning strategies to * David Snowden & Mary Boone (2007) underpin that perspective

“Leader's Framework for Decision Making” Harvard Business Review

Applied R&D four types of research: pure basic; strategic basic; applied; and developmental Applied research “seeks to acquire new knowledge with a specific application in view” • We know the application context • We know the intended end-users & beneficiaries • We can tease out the nature of the knowledge need 12

• We can identify prospective adoption pathways

Outline 1. Context 2. The science/policy interface 3. Knowledge brokering & translation 4. Tips and tools


Acknowledgment These thoughts on science/policy interactions owe a great deal to many insights, tips and advice offered sagely, cheerfully and often provocatively over many years by Professor Peter Cullen — a champion in maximising the influence of research and telling truth to power. 14

The interface between science and policy • Contested, crowded, contextual • Stakes high, decisions urgent, facts uncertain or disputed • Science thrives on a contest of ideas – This can be problematic in public debate

• Public officials just one of many sources of advice • Ministers/governments prefer wins, credit, initiatives – over problems, conflict, confusion

• Durable relationships are critical – based on mutual respect and trust 15

The nature of policy questions • Policy issues tend to be in the applied research domain • Key questions revolve around “What should we do?” – What policy settings or actions will have what impact? – Who will be affected, how, how much, when and where?

• Scientists entering policy debates are often illequipped


“When scientists do enter the political arena, they must understand they are playing to different rules from those used in science and need to learn the rules of politics and the media. Unless they understand the rules and tactics of policy debate it is like them

Three lenses of knowledge & evidence Political Judgement: Policy problem

diffuse, fluid and adversarial

Professional Practices:

organisational knowledge, implementation, practical experience


Inform and influence policy response

Scientific Research:

systematic approaches, quantitative and qualitative. experimental and actionoriented

Source: B Head AJPM 2008, 67(1)

Knowledge fit for purpose • Understand the knowledge need, in the application context – What type of info is needed, by whom, when and in what form? – Do you need to put a dollar figure on everything to make a better decision?

• How good does the information have to be? ANSWER: GOOD ENOUGH! • This includes the process used to generate the numbers - expert/stakeholder interaction etc • Having the science won’t necessarily win the argument 18

– Understand the politics and the economics

The knowledge-seeking behaviour of policy makers (after Cullen et al 2000)

• Senior policy makers are time-poor, information-overloaded people, most of whom don’t read much unless they have to; • Only know what they need to know when they need to know it • Have a very short-term, reactive perspective • Rarely stay long in the same job — deep content knowledge is rare • Want to summarise info in less than 1 page for Minister/top brass • Averse to anything too complicated • Default to trusted sources, often in-house, even when they suspect those sources may be out of date or incomplete • May have a jaundiced opinion of science, believing it is:


– too slow and too expensive – answering questions that no-one has asked, accompanied by requests for more funding

So…… •

The worlds, values, norms and languages of science & policy are very different, and, arguably, diverging

Scientists and policy makers are both time-poor

Few people have the aptitude, skills, commitment and time to excel in both domains at the same time Many scientists are introverts Infoglut and fragmentation are major problems

• •

There is a real need for intermediaries dedicated to work between knowledge generation and its use

— and the processes & systems to support them — Enter KB/KT! — In agriculture, we call this extension (a vast literature)


Outline 1. Context 2. The science/policy interface 3. Knowledge brokering & translation (drawing mostly on LWA)

4. Tips and tools 21

Knowledge Brokering* •

Processes used by intermediaries (knowledge brokers) in mediating between sources of knowledge (usually science and research) and users of knowledge. Interactive, two-way, beyond matchmaking.

Knowledge brokers:

– help people to ask the right questions, and to identify the best sources of the – –

information they need work with knowledge sources to get information into forms designed around end users’ knowledge needs (preferences, channels, timescales) facilitate feedback from both parties – feeding into researchers as much as to the users of research outputs, potentially challenging the way research outputs are presented and even the research questions explored

An inherently strategic activity, demanding technical knowledge, credibility & trust of all parties

22 *Source: Campbell 2006; Knowledge for Managing Australian Landscapes

Knowledge Translation •

Literally ‘translating’ research or other scientific outputs into language or forms that can be better understood by and are more useful for the intended audience

Less interventionist in the research process than knowledge brokering, but still demands deep understanding of the application context of the end user

Can involve synthesis products that draw on a range of research outputs or projects to package information in more useful and applicable forms


KB & KT are not magic bullets

• The best KB/KT in the world won’t make irrelevant research useful and adoptable • It is difficult to retrofit a mature research program that has already committed most of its budget • In the absence of trusting relationships with both the generators and users of knowledge, brokers will struggle to be effective — these relationships need time & continuity • KB/KT work best as an integral component of an intelligent, patient knowledge system, from research 24 procurement to knowledge utilisation (adoption)

Land & Water Australia •

Research funding body established 1990

Core budget appropriation of $12-13m

By 2000, the Board perceived that the science was good, but its profile and research uptake was too low

Recruited new CEO (me) & told me to ‘improve communication’ (at that time <3% of spend & 1.5 people)

Over 7 years, we moved from ‘Communication’ to ‘Knowledge and its Adoption’ (K&A) – – –

K&A expenditure went to >20%, team to >10 people Total expenditure went to >$40m (despite static appropriation) Very strong co-investment, with partners valuing K&A

From ‘Communication’ to Knowledge & Adoption* • • • • •

Applied R&D is no good unless it is adopted This means that it must be well communicated Make K&A real and resource it properly Instil K&A in the culture of the organisation Plan K&A from the start. It will: – – – –


influence the research methodology encourage involvement of stakeholders in design and management of the research target research questions to user needs improve the adoptability of research results

* Synonymous with uptake, utilisation, mobilisation

Evaluation • Improves program/system management, satisfies accountability needs, and generates valuable intelligence over time

• Must be:

– hard-wired from the start, adequately resourced, and instilled into the culture

• Simple framework (increasing difficulty in measurement and attribution): a. What knowledge assets have we created? – How adoptable are they? – What do we know about their adoption levels, rates? – What do we assume will be the benefits from adoption? – Can we measure those impacts?

• KB/KT evaluation focuses on assessing the difference KB/KT has made to b & c – Tends to be qualitative, expert-opinion based 27

– Over time, and across a portfolio, the value added is clear

KB & KT approaches tried by LWA •

Making high level (CEO, Board) commitment explicit

Allocating resources accordingly ($$ and people)

Knowledge brokers embedded within research programs (usually closer to end-users)

Initiating a specialist knowledge brokering team

Mandating K&A plans for all research programs

Moving from research reports to synthesis products

Improving knowledge management systems

Funding the arrows



1. Context 2. The science/policy interface 3. Knowledge brokering & translation

4. Tips and tools 29

Infiltrating Power with Science • 100 Key Influencers list, constantly updated – including rising stars and Minister’s ‘kitchen cabinet’ – Try to build relationships, not just market products

• Respect the ‘no surprises’ rule always • Synthesis products - distilled, digestible info targeted to end-users • Timing is everything, and face to face is best

– Breakfasts, face to face briefings (facilitated one to one), field days

• Develop adoptability filters — don’t promote stuff that is not useful • Knowledge brokers placed within target end-users • End users with strong engagement in the R&D 30

“Droplets” • a good example of a knowledge synthesis product • science for water policy - funded by LWA and CSIRO • developed by Prof Mike Young, Adelaide University • designed to get science into difficult policy issues quickly • influential, even when unpopular or impolitic • timing critical — no surprises! 31

Leveraging other vehicles • n/

• Decision Point •

NCCARF networks

Wentworth Group mentors e-program

ABC Science Unit

Social media (especially Twitter & Facebook)




Dave Pannell

John Quiggin

Real Dirt

ABC environment blog gs/


The regional catchment (watershed) model: an integrated approach

• The regional model (56 catchment bodies) is an ambitious attempt to implement sustainable watershed management: – Devolve decision making & resource allocation to appropriate scale – Tap into and build on deep local knowledge and connection to place – Work across issues and industries in an integrated way

• integration means making whole – across scales, issues, land tenures and land uses – in the users’ context

• that requires excellent relationships 33

• And comprehensive knowledge

Consultation • in-depth research with six regions (serendipity) • face to face contact with many more • systematic phone, email and postal survey • creation of an informal working group • An e-newsletter:


What catchment bodies were telling us: INFOGLUT and FRAGMENTATION

Concerns expressed by regional bodies: ‘Where is it and how do we get to it?’ “I’m aware of websites, but sometimes telling staff to look at a website is like being asked to go look at the National Library”

• Fragmentation of information sources • Volume, Relevance and Accessibility of information • Information sharing between regions and between national organisations • Two-way flow between regions and national organisations – Regions want to have their priorities listened to

• Issues similar to Ontario Conservation Authorities (EC study)


Our response: Knowledge for Regional


• $2.8m pilot project announced 2005 • Technical working group (key blockers) • Enthusiasts working group - key facilitators • Dedicated team recruited (5 staff) • Many workshops & meetings in nice places • 37 of 56 regional bodies wanted to participate in the pilot project 36

Many workshops & meetings in nice places

Many workshops & meetings in nice places

Knowledge assets of interest Magazines

Journal articles

Publications Reference books books •Reference (Guidelines andarticles •Journal manuals etc) reports •Research •Pamphlets Conference •Magazines proceedings Researchproceedings •Conference report

Current research projects

Specialist Research directory advice •Programs •Projects •Specialist contacts for Current research advice programs

Spatial datasets Funding opportunities Anecdotal evidence Knowledge needs

Decision Decision support tools frameworks •Models Models

•Decision frameworks •Spreadsheets Spreadsheets

NRM Toolbar interface

NRM search Google Australia Organisation assets Advanced [Searches on selection] Square icon indicates which search engine is selected

R&D Directory This Worked Here! Knowledge needs Events and funding Decision tools Knowledge market report Add/Delete databases

[Click name to open My library]

[Click name to see librarian services]

Click dropdown to view list of folders (Playlists) that stays open to allow drag and drop from search results

Includes form for requesting information from the librarian

[Click to see current alerts plus access alert settings]

My profile Customise my toolbar Update toolbar Uninstall toolbar Help Contact us

[Click to logout or login as someone else]

Targeting mechanisms at knowledge flow Regional NRM Organisations

National NRM R&D

Knowledge Brokers / Facilitators


Knowledge for Regional NRM Update • •

Project evolved to develop the Regional Knowledge Resource Kit (RKRK) Won national knowledge management award –

Funding ceased with abolition of LWA

Regional bodies continuing without funding


Meeting a felt need, but still dependent on local champions

On-going courses for practitioners

Could expand quickly with new $$

An organisational knowledge checklist Systems make it possible, people make it happen

 How easy is it for staff (especially new starters), or the public, to find out what the organisation knows about a given issue?

– EC’s S&T Expert and rECent S&T useful tools for EC staff, partners and clients

 How easy is it to find out what has been funded, and to access those knowledge assets? How useful is the web site for staff?

 How well does the organisation tap into (and share) the tacit

knowledge of experienced people, before and when they leave?

 How many people are trained in the web content management system and can upload & manage web content?


– And web 2.0 tools? – E.g. how many wikis are in use?

Knowledge checklist (continued)  How well does the organisation “fund the arrows” (inside & out) – i.e. provide time and resources for linking & joining functions?

 What is a typical Knowledge and Adoption (Comms if you must) budget for programs or major projects?  What is a typical evaluation budget (as a % of total program budget)?  Are there generic templates for evaluation plans & K&A plans?  Can the knowledge system handle diverse knowledge assets? – E.g. images, films, oral histories, metadata, unpublished material

 How many staff routinely use the library?  Is reading, knowledge and learning valued?


Take home messages • We are in a period of rapid environmental change – Not all predictable, often bewildering, with huge implications – This is not a blip. Normal service will not be resumed any time soon.

• The world needs much smarter policies – This means improving the science-policy interface

• Intermediary people, processes and tools have a crucial role

• Knowledge brokering and translation (within a welldesigned system) can be immensely useful and valuable – Delivering a better return on research investment – Helping policy and management to access and apply best available knowledge & evidence 45


For more info e.g The Getting of Knowledge Knowledge for Managing Australian Landscapes 46

The Getting of Knowledge, knowledge brokering & knowledge translation