Post Cards from Congress – Day 3

The benefit of being at Congress, aside from the rich conversations about knowledge mobilization which we’re fortunate to engage in, is the chance to attend some interesting and informative lectures and talks.  Today, Michael Johnny was able to attend the Big Thinking Speaker Series talk by His Excellency, Governor General David Johnston on the topic of Innovation and Learning.

The Governor General of Canada; His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston

The Governor General of Canada; His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston

I have had the pleasure of listening to His Excellence speak in the past and he is a very dynamic and inspirational speaker.  It was a pleasure to hear him graciously acknowledge the leadership of Dr. Chad Gaffield, one of Canada’s leading historians and thinkers, who helped contribute to his talk today.  Dr. Gaffield is also the former President of The Federation of the Social Sciences and Humanities; the group which facilitates Congress each spring.

His Excellence wove in the dichotomy of teaching and research as part of learning and there was a significant focus on Neurodevelopmental advancements in Canada (which will be of interest to our NCE friends at NeuroDevNet).

Most notably, I’d like to focus on three points he made in closing, his call to action:

1. Take advantage of new technologies to speak past jargon and language barriers across disciplines – Aside from the fact this ‘translation’ work is central to a knowledge broker, it is important to acknowledge the powerful tool which Memorial University knowledge mobilization utilize within the Harris Centre. is a great resource to support collaboration across geographic, discipline and sectoral boundaries.  Brokers at Memorial help support the two-way exchange process but with a robust technological tool in place, brokers are well positioned to use technology effectively in support of making research relevant to society.

2. Let’s gather around knowledge – creating a diplomacy of knowledge – in knowledge mobilization circles, a field which is relatively new and not always intuitive, we are now able to meet annually to learn, share and debate around our work.  The Canadian Knowledge Mobilization Forum is important learning space and while it creates a diplomacy of knowledge, it is more around knowledge mobilization.  Still, it is safe to say that knowledge brokers understand the need to meet and interact.

3. Finally, let’s take the best of other disciplines and apply them to our own thinking – this is another area in which we’re advancing our practices and thinking of our work.  Whether it is disciplines like education, health, agriculture or any others, knowledge brokers are assembling communities of practice to share good (and bad) practices.  Further, we look across geographical boundaries to inform our work.  Canadian knowledge brokers are connected to networks in the UK, Europe, Africa and the United States.  This global network helps ensure that innovation supports our learning.

And that is a good place to close.  Knowledge brokers are doing very well in incorporating innovation in our learning.  Reflecting on the messages of His Excellency are very affirming around our direction in knowledge mobilization in Canada.

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