Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Nonprofit and Social Economy Research

Knowledge Mobilization, Collaboration, and Social Innovation: Leveraging Investments in Higher Education

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Nonprofit and Social Economy Research

Knowledge Mobilization, Collaboration, and Social Innovation: Leveraging Investments in Higher Education

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

This article is a qualitative literature synthesis in the areas of community-campus collaborations, knowledge mobilization and social innovation. The article aims to be useful to people who work in academic settings, community organizations, public institutions, and government. The authors utilized a purposive sampling methodology to explore the following questions: 1. How can university-based knowledge mobilization leverage investments in higher education research and development (R&D) through community-campus collaboration and social innovation? 2. What is the role of university-wide knowledge mobilization projects in supporting community-campus connections and ultimately social innovation strategies that contribute to the public good? Our review indicates considerable interplay between community-campus collaborations, knowledge mobilization and social innovation given that knowledge mobilization facilitates - and is facilitated by - collaboration. With sufficient knowledge mobilization, community-campus collaborations stimulate social innovation. The article concludes with recommendations based on our review of the literature.

RÉSUMÉ

Cet article se fonde sur une synthèse littéraire qualitative portant sur les collaborations communautaires/académiques, la mobilisation du savoir et l'innovation sociale. Il se veut utile pour toute personne travaillant dans un milieu académique, un organisme communautaire ou une institution publique. Les auteurs ont recours à une méthode d'échantillonnage raisonné pour répondre aux questions suivantes: 1. Comment la mobilisation du savoir universitaire - au moyen de la collaboration communautaire/académique et de l'innovation sociale - peut-elle faire augmenter les investissements en recherche et développement dans l'enseignement supérieur? 2. Comment les projets de mobilisation du savoir universitaire peuvent-ils resserrer les liens entre campus et communauté et, en fin de compte, appuyer des stratégies d'innovation sociale qui contribuent au bien commun? Notre évaluation indique qu'il y a beaucoup d'influences réciproques entre les collaborations communautaires/académiques, la mobilisation du savoir et l'innovation sociale, surtout que la mobilisation du savoir facilite la collaboration et vice versa. En effet, avec une mobilisation du savoir suffisante, les collaborations communautaires/académiques stimulent l'innovation sociale. Cet article se termine par des recommandations provenant de notre analyse documentaire.

Keywords / Mots clés : Social innovation; Knowledge mobilization; Community-academic collaboration; Research; Development / Innovation sociale; Mobilisation du savoir; Collaboration communautaire/académique; Recherche; Développement

INTRODUCTION

An innovation can be understood as a product, intervention, process, or idea that is "discontinuous from previous practice and yields new pathways for solving acute problems or fulfilling [a] mission" (Rockefeller Foundation, n.d., p. 1). Innovation is widely regarded as central to industry progress and the development of workforce talent. Increasingly, there is recognition that innovation is critical to cultural, environmental, social, and artistic progress as well. With the move from industrial economies to knowledge- and service-based economies, some scholars have observed an "innovation system paradigm shift" (Bullinger, 2006, p. 14, in Howaldt & Schwarz, 2010, p. 12). Although innovation in science and technology remains critical, there is increasing recognition that social innovation is required to achieve sustainable social and economic impact.

Social innovations require a willingness to "do things differently" (Goldstein, Hazy, & Silberstang, 2010). Put simply, social innovations are changes that are observed at the level of social practice (Howaldt & Schwarz, 2010, p. 21). Social innovations often result from unique combinations of knowledge, practice, techniques, products, and so forth. …

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