[ASC-list] The (blurry?) line between communication and knowledge sharing

Jennifer Metcalfe jenni at econnect.com.au
Fri Jul 18 11:02:36 UTC 2014


Sorry Claire, I still beg to differ…. The interventions you mention below are all things I have done as a science communicator… again I think KM is a fancy term that indirectly (and perhaps unintentionally) subtly negates the value of science communication and in many cases relegates science communication to passive one-way communication or two-way entertainment style communication…

“KM interventions might include: increasing collaboration, increasing information flows (eg. through systems), decentralising knowledge, creating trusted relationships and networks. The tools KMers use are often different to what sci communicators use but not always. For example knowledge audits, social network analysis, most significant change, organisational psychology, supporting Communities of Practice.”

But great to continue this discussion.

Jenni Metcalfe
PhD Student at University of Nottingham, Sociology Dept, UK, Feb-August, 2014
Universitas 21 exchange from the University of Queensland, Australia
Director, Econnect Communication, www.econnect.com.au<http://www.econnect.com.au/>
Mobile: UK +44 (0) 7473 109 685; or Australia +61 (0) 408 551 866
jenni at econnect.com.au<mailto:jenni at econnect.com.au>
skype: jenni.metcalfe
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From: ASC-list [mailto:asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au] On Behalf Of Claire Harris
Sent: Tuesday, 15 July 2014 5:13 AM
To: Michelle Kovacevic
Cc: asc-list
Subject: Re: [ASC-list] The (blurry?) line between communication and knowledge sharing

Hi Michelle
Interesting question that I've been pondering for a while and this also connects with the recent PCST list discussions about what the phrase 'science communication' includes. And so I typed over lunch.

Definitely agree that sci comm should not be thought of as only 'one way traffic'.

Does it matter what we call ourselves?... Hmmm well there's an element of identity within ourselves, our peers and the market/employers. And these all have different strengths and opportunities, perhaps encouraging people to more adamantly title themselves a science communicator or not. Is 'science communicator' sexy these days? Maybe on the whole less so in Australia?? Who can say?

As someone who has worked with Knowledge Management folks a little bit, I think there are a few differences but yes it is blurry and there are overlaps.

While I agree with Jenni's point that science communication really is a broad area and there are many roles, and science communicators can be knowledge brokers, I think KM practitioners have a focus that is different. They also use approaches and tools that generally differ from sci comm tools. Of course there are crossovers and many science communicators are working in this space, for example, working on intranets and wikis...

Knowledge Management is difficult to define - acknowledged by a recent call for papers: "Knowledge Management at the Crossroads: Research, Challenges and Perspectives"
http://inderscience.blogspot.com.au/2014/06/call-for-papers-knowledge-management-at.html
- some interesting parallels between sci comm and KM?).

But I would summarise that KM includes practices and research that look to make better use of knowledge, information and learning - both in systems (eg. libraries, online systems) and in people and organisations.

KM interventions might include: increasing collaboration, increasing information flows (eg. through systems), decentralising knowledge, creating trusted relationships and networks. The tools KMers use are often different to what sci communicators use but not always. For example knowledge audits, social network analysis, most significant change, organisational psychology, supporting Communities of Practice. Some the same eg. blogs, wikis, knowledge sharing discussions, providing information to those who are seeking it etc. etc..

So there's the 'what' is KM as a discipline/approach, the 'who' works in KM and what they do, their skills, and the 'why' - their reasons perhaps? which likely cross over quite a bit with why sci commers are passionate about what they do.

Another way to explore the differences is to look at the way universities set up their courses. Here's an information and KM degree with UTS: http://handbook.uts.edu.au/courses/c04203.html

I would say KM is complementary to sci communication but employs some different skills and approaches and of course is not necessarily science-focused. For initiatives looking to connect research to policy/organisational change, both KM and communication approaches (and others) are important. From another angle, communication fits within the KM framework...

It's all quite complicated right :)

Some things I keep an eye on / resources:

  *   ACT KM forum - http://www.actkm.org/about.php
  *   Broad 'knowledge sharing' toolkit http://www.kstoolkit.org/
  *   http://ictkm.cgiar.org/ - Very much knowledge sharing combining information, tech and communication and knowledge management
  *   http://www.scoop.it/t/knowledge-management-and-development
  *   KM Congress www.kmaustralia.com<http://www.kmaustralia.com> (wow this is on next week!)
  *   http://www.greenchameleon.com/gc/guides/

Cheers,
Claire



Claire Harris

Sydney, Australia

http://au.linkedin.com/in/claireharrisoz

On 14 July 2014 16:17, Michelle Kovacevic <kovamic at gmail.com<mailto:kovamic at gmail.com>> wrote:
Hi ASC-ers,

Over the past few months I've been introduced to the concepts of knowledge management and knowledge sharing, but to be honest I still don't know where the the role of "communicator" ends and "knowledge manager/sharer/broker" begins.

It seems one of the postulated differences is that communication is a "one-way" process of information provision and passive reception, whereas knowledge sharing is more of holistic process, connecting users and producers of information (knowledge? semantics?) so they can co-create a "knowledge product" that serves multiple needs.

To date, my job as a "science communicator" has involved aspects of writing, editing, multimedia, project management, education, data management, training, PR and research, amongst other things.

To me, effective communication cannot be defined a passive, one way process if it truly wishes to be effective and I don't think, as a science communicator, I have ever practiced it as such.

Would be keen for the community's thoughts on whether we should be calling ourselves communicators vs when we might be knowledge managers/brokers? Or does it even matter what we call ourselves?

Cheers,

Michelle

--
Michelle Kovacevic
Communicator. Educator. Project Manager. Scientist. Creative Thinker.
michellekovacevic.com<http://michellekovacevic.com> (beta)
Find me on: LinkedIn<https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=66994213> | Twitter<https://twitter.com/kovamic> | SlideShare<https://www.slideshare.net/MichelleKovacevic>

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