Another organization just set up shop in Barcelona to promote knowledge-sharing and innovation. Barcelona Knowledge Hub was officially launched last week and is located in the beautiful cloister premises in the Carrer del Carmen. It is a collaboration between Academia Europaea and the Catalan Foundation for Research and Innovation (FCRI): two organizations that have knowledge dissemination in their DNA.
The Barcelona Knowledge Hub will focus on the promotion of multidisciplinary scientific activities that include the perspective of the social sciences and the humanities. Their goal is to contribute to the consolidation of a genuine European area of innovation, research, and education. A beautiful ambition, but I do hope that this new organization will not reinvent the wheel. It would be of great added value if it would clearly define its added role in the vivid ecosystem of different entities pursuing a leading real for Barcelona as Innovation HUB. Just to name a few: Barcelona Growth, Barcelona Global, Barcelona KEY and the Barcelona Mediterranean Innovation HUB.
This week I visited the final workshop of the FP7 project WaterDiss, which was focused on writing better research dissemination strategies- exchange ideas, tools and methods across Europe. A variety of tools can be used as a vehicle for knowledge dissemination, but all should focus on some generic considerations:
- Accessibility of the knowledge [e.g. scientific journals are usually not accessible to business and policy practitioners]
- Dissemination needs a strategy, mandate to be executed and a structured approach
- Be clear on the target audience and adapt the strategy accordingly [how do they want to be informed and more important actively involved- tailor made approach]
- Make sure it is a two-way dialogue [importance of engagement, passion and interaction]
- Nurture relationships [we live in a networked world]
Why is knowledge sharing so important?
We want to make the next step: from knowledge to implementation, and we don’t like doing the same thing over and over again. So, if the knowledge is already developed somewhere, it should be accessible by others in need. Hence, dissemination should focus on achieving a shared understanding, matching needs and start the business development of new products and services. A part of knowledge is developed for the sake of knowledge, in order to discover unknown ‘worlds’. But a rather large part of knowledge is developed in order to cope with societal challenges and find a solution for urging problems in health care, energy use and climate change mitigation. There is so much to win when it is clear what kind of outcomes research has produced. It’s good to hear that within the Horizon 2020 program the knowledge valorization will have a more important role making room for more effective knowledge mobilization and innovation brokerage. (Science Career on “Emerging profession: knowledge broker “)
Knowledge sharing can on the one hand stimulate to take action, but on the other hand can also be a strong tool to inspire. A nice example of inspiration that is scaling up, is the Partage Plus project. The MNAC is one of the participants in assuring that European Art Nouveau objects, artworks, posters, and buildings will digitally be accessible and foundable. Barcelona is famous for her strong Catalan Modernista movement. Not only Gaudi, but also artist like Domenech I Monater, Puig I Cadafalch and many others made an effort to have this industrial design mixed with symbols from nature in place. However, not only in Barcelona artists were searching for a new innovative style to distinguish themselves and transcendent the others. The same happened in other countries resulting in Art Nouveau, Jugendstil, Modern Style.
Referring back to all the different Barcelona initiatives, there is urgent need for impact: a call for action and inspiration. Results are needed on a bigger scale, by scaling up the impact of the different small initiatives. Perhaps the Barcelona Knowledge Hub could have a role in not only promoting knowledge and innovation, but also actively work on integration of their knowledge in the different Barcelona initiatives and provide a basis for impact growth.
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