Today I finally got to meet the wonderful Kobie Boshoff. Kobie is senior lecturer in Occupational Therapy, Director at the International Centre for Allied Health Evidence (iCAHE) and Editor of a new journal, The Allied Health Scholar. She has recently returned from South Africa, which is why we hadn’t got round to meeting, up to now. It’s great to gradually pull together conversations with staff at the occupational therapy program. Each builds on the one before and today I felt like I got a bit more clarity about a way forward.
I have drawn on the framework developed by Bayley (2018), to consider how I could develop a pathway for increasing the impact literacy of the program (I was going to call it a roadmap, but this seems to be getting a bit ahead of myself). In doing this, I am channelling a bit of Lesley Brooks, who was a colleague from Otago Polytechnic. Lesley was wonderful at helping me to see when I was making an impact, celebrating my achievements with me, before showing me ten ways that it could be better (without ever making me feel small).
A framework for knowledge translation for OT at UniSA
Change management: The first thing a professor would do in this kind of context is to ensure that any roadmap is aligned with the needs of the occupational therapy profession stakeholders. This includes staff, students, practitioners, support staff, clients, families and the wider interdisciplinary community. Obviously quality would be a key parameter in any suggestions about a culture of change
Communication: There needs to be lots of ways of communication. This is something people are good at doing here, without needing lots of meetings. I am learning lots about what is done here – but it is quite a job still to get this picture. Are there better ways of communicating about what we do? Seminars; great conversations; key themes; rounds of conversations; book clubs;
Creating/sourcing/synthesising: So as I aim to understand what every staff member is doing, there is a need to summarise this and to integrate my understanding. Ideally, this will enable me to do the kind of horizon scanning where I can showcase what is being done in ways that leverage priorities, issues, trends and concerns around UniSA and beyond. What I am doing is putting together the tacit knowledge that is already here, as a beginner and novice in this context.
Evaluate impact of knowledge translation: There is lots to be done about impact literacy and understanding the what, how and who of this (what is impact; how does it happen; who is doing this).
Facilitate and negotiate: This all needs to be identified, monitored and captured in ways that make sense to stakeholders, who together can contextualise, interpret and help with translation.
Leading/managing/driving knowledge translation: Something I do must lead to ideas generation, and to influencing what is happening (see ‘change management’ above). Some of how this might happen is through mentoring and co-mentoring.
Managing Intellectual property: The Allied Health Scholar is already open access and creative commons (YAY!); we just need to ensure that there is a story getting ‘out there’ in a way that commits to generosity, generativity and also supports the key offshoots that happen from the energies here. It’s about giving away, in such a way that there is still a story of how it all connects with OT at UniSA.
Managing Partnerships: There are lots of stakeholders and there need to be ways of managing communications and concurrent conversations. We need to be able to link groups who are interested in the same topic. So many networks are embedded in the individual academics, this can be mapped and articulated.
Engaging stakeholders: This step is directly related to the last and it gets built constantly by identifying what stakeholders need; by building contacts, and fostering those specific partnerships that are most valuable to the occupational therapy program. There is a continual round of problem identification and generating solutions.
Create products and practices: The AHS journal can be backed up by social media (blogging; tweeting etc). We engage in multiple ways to keep the knowledge generation in front of stakeholders. There should be support for this. This needs great design (suggest that the UniSA find ways to support the journal for copy editor; design and typesetting and printing hardcopies (at least 200 per print run). This is an important ‘giveaway’, to keep the program visible.
Bayley, J. E., Phipps, D., Batac, M., & Stevens, E. (2018). Development of a framework for knowledge mobilisation and impact competencies. In Evidence and Policy (Vol. 14, Issue 4, pp. 725–738). Policy Press. https://doi.org/10.1332/174426417X14945838375124