Making Good Ideas Infectious

“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean.  But, the ocean would be less because of that missing drop … For me knowledge is power.  Power to transform the way that we think, and act … It’s about know-how, it’s about skills, it’s about experience, it’s about respecting all these different types of knowledges … Bringing people who have different types of knowledge together is the only way we’re going to tackle some of the big problems.”

Some of the key success factors that close this video from the Sustainable Uplands Project, and which remind us that knowledge transfer can be integrated by design into routine practices are:

Design knowledge exchange into your work.

Make sure knowledge exchange is a two-way process.

Create a space in which people can share opinions and existing knowledge, and generate new knowledge together.

Reflect and evaluate so you can refine your practice.

The Sustainable Learning Project emerged from the Sustainable Uplands Project as a means of involving stakeholders in participatory outcomes.  It has produced one of the more infectious videos on knowledge exchange and transfer.  The video highlights why sharing knowledge is a sustainable approach to solving wicked problems, such as long term environmental and ecological change. The approach here to the “knowledge is power” discussion is particularly good. This collaborative stance echoes an academic’s view on cultivating innovative engineering talent:

Sir Francis Bacon said, “Knowledge is power.” In the past, the power of knowledge in the engineering field might have been assumed predominantly one gained by the accumulation of fundamental skills and awareness of science and technology. Yet, for the 21st century engineer, the most powerful knowledge is achieved only through a new and dynamic balance of skills and awareness across disciplines, e.g., technical and scientific knowledge coupled with humanistic, social science, and  experimental knowledge as well as collaborative and innovation knowledge. All forms of knowledge – the technical and non-technical – are now critical to a 21st century engineer’s power and success.

Source: Yunhe, P. 2010. ‘On the Cultivation of Innovative Engineering Talent’, in D. Grasso & M. Burkins (eds), Holistic Engineering Education, Springer New York, pp. 113-124.