I call myself a knowledge broker. In previous posts (click on the ‘knowledge brokering’ tab at top right) I have explained this as someone who helps to bridge the gaps between facts, outcomes and benefits. Unfortunately this isn’t enough to satisfy most people.
So this time I will try to explain why I think knowledge brokering is important. Perhaps then an understanding of what it is will become clearer to you.
Our world is full of facts. Some of them are more obvious than others, some more definite or substantiated. All need to be understood. But what actually matters is the impact these facts have on the choice of actions that we decide to undertake and the reason we make these choices. This is about the relationship between facts and benefits.
For example, there is not point in understanding how a computer works unless you are planning to use one to create a spreadsheet that will help you plan your finances. The end benefit is affording to pay for your utilities or being able to buy that car you badly need.
Another example. Understanding every word of the Bible, Machiavelli’s ‘The Prince’ or a Science textbook may seem a major achievement, but it has no relevance unless it means that you intend to apply what you have learnt to the real world. This might mean turning the other cheek (to prevent escalation of an argument), seizing opportunities at the expense of others (to ensure that at least someone wins the event), or checking the voltage on an electric circuit (to determine whether it is safe to use your adaptor).
For individual enterprises, larger organisations and networks, things are more complicated. This is why measurable outcomes are so useful. They provide an indicator as to whether benefits will actually be realised from a choice of actions or projects. Knowledge brokers evaluate the choices by referencing them against the key facts and key expected benefits. This in turn helps decision-makers bridge any significant gaps that are bound to exist – after all no person, organisation or network can be 100% perfect right from the start – it takes continuous re-evaluation to make real and substantive progress.
This is why knowledge brokering is important. And most significantly you need someone completely objective to do it for you properly or you may just end up fooling yourself.
Is that an outcome you really want?