Worst Case Scenario: An Exercise

To get better, sometimes you have to think about the worst case scenario. This blog post is about a facilitated workshop activity that considers worst practices to support personal and collaborative change. Worst KTE practices

by Anne Bergen

What is the worst way that we can mobilize knowledge?

Knowledge mobilization* is about making information useful. It’s about:

  • helping information and knowledge flow among individuals and groups,
  • making decisions based on the best available evidence, and
  • creating relationships among people and networks.

The loftiest goals of knowledge mobilization are transformational, not just transactional. We want people not just to accept parcels of knowledge, but also to change their thoughts, feelings, and actions based on that knowledge. We want people to think and behave differently than they did before.

But there’s a problem. During knowledge mobilization training, it’s possible to get stuck on multi-layered definitions and conceptual models, leaving participants unable to answer the question:

“What does good knowledge mobilization look like?”

Yes, knowledge mobilization is about transformation of research knowledge into policy and practice. But non-specified “policy and practice” are dull. It’s hard to muster sustained enthusiasm for “policy and practice”, and it’s hard for trainees to be able to think about those terms in ways that are relatable and relevant.

Instead, a great way to start off a knowledge mobilization workshop is to think about worst practices, not best practices. That is, what could the participants do to get a really, really terrible result? What does knowledge immobilization look like?

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