Academics need to find their place in the new ‘open knowledge society’

In this video Peter Moll (International Analyst and Consultant) talks about the emergence of the ‘open knowledge society’ and what this means for academic researchers. Moll believes that academics have to move away from holding the view that their knowledge is superior to other forms. He says that linear views of knowledge that tend to dominate within the academic community need to be replaced by a more dynamic understandings of how knowledge operate in the open knowledge society.

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K* (and * stands for what exactly?)

Enrique Mendizabal on his ‘On Think Thanks’ blog today provided some interesting thoughts on the K* concept. It would be interesting to see whether participants at the conference (still going on in Canada) have any thoughts on his reflections.

Innovation, collective cultural memory and the natural state of knowledge

Knowledge is power, we all know that, but the true value of knowledge has the potential to move beyond this tired, albeit true, adage.  Knowledge can also be a precursor for empowerment, a means to reach into peoples latent memories and draw out perspectives and positions that had until now been hidden by more dominant discourses.

The potential for knowledge to be used to reach into our collective cultural memories is a wonderfully rich idea, and one introduced to me by Charles Dhewa (Knowledge Transfer Africa), during the Kstar conference (currently underway) in Hamilton, Canada. The knowledge community tends to focus a great deal on looking forward into the distance for new ideas and thinking, but sometimes we don’t only need to look back, but we have to change our own world view and understanding of what constitutes knowledge.

In this short video Charles Dhewa introduces the concepts of ‘collective cultural memory’ and the ‘natural state of knowledge’:

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K* and the private sector

In this short video, Jason Blackstock (Oxford University) provides an overview of today’s ‘K* with the private sector’ panel session.

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John Lavis’s reflections on how to build effective K*

John N. Lavis, during today’s keynote, provided a series of reflections on how to build effective K*. Building on Derek Brien’s opening remarks Lavis outlined a number of steps that K* practitioners need to think about in order to help ensure evidence is injected into policy dialogue.

John Lavis

John Lavis, McMaster University

Walk the talk

K* practitioners are increasingly engaged in facilitating evidence based policy, but the truth is that when it comes to drawing on an evidence base for K*, practitioners are failing to support their own actions through K* research. Lavis made this point clear by saying “We need to walk the talk when it comes to using research evidence”.  Research in health systems has shown that “interactions matter, timeliness matters, getting stuff to people when a policy window opens matters, concordance between peoples existing beliefs and the evidence matters”. However, although there is evidence to support K* activities, there is still a great deal more to be done in terms of research if we want K* practitioners to be able to point to evidence that supports processes in the wide variety of different contexts that K* operates. Read more of this post

Which Foreigners Are Worth Wooing? A Meta-Analysis of Vertical Spillovers from FDI

During the GDNet Awards and Medals Finalists Communications training that took place on the 11-12 January, 2010 participants were asked to write a blog to capture the key issues underpinning their work.

The following blog post is by Tomáš Havránek.

Developing and transition countries try to attract foreign investors. Some give them money, some give them tax incentives. And the most important reason behind these subsidies is that policy-makers believe that FDI has positive effects on domestic firms. Recently, researchers in this area have been focusing especially on knowledge transfer from foreign investors to their local suppliers.

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Tool to rationalize hometown investment by overseas Filipinos eyed

Alvin Ang and Jeremaiah Opiniano

During the GDNet Awards and Medals Finalists Presentation Skills Training that took place on the 11-12 January, participants were asked to write a blog to capture the key issues underpinning their work.

We feature here a blog written by Alvin Ang and Jeremaiah Opiniano, from the University of Santo Tomas Research Cluster on Culture, Education and Social Issues in the Philippines, who were last night declared the winner of the Japanese Award for Outstanding Research on Development (ORD).

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The second plenary of GDN’s twelfth Global Development Conference addressed the issue of “Rethinking Microfinance”.

Victor Murinde

Victor Murinde

For many years, microfinance has been perceived as a kind of ‘magic bullet’ that raises the income and consumption of the poor and helps them cope with poverty. For its supporters, microfinance is not about income or consumption, but rather freedom and empowerment (Rich Rosenberg CGAP). But the perception of microfinance is changing.

A study on the impact of Spandana microfinance in South India presented by Professor Dean Yang, Associate Professor at the University of Michigan, shows that the impact of microcredit schemes differ by subpopulation. He found that those who already have businesses invest in durables and restrict their consumption, while those who do not have or want a business consume more. Proof perhaps, that microfinance is not quite the magic bullet as its supporters propose.

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The emerging landscape of development finance: the Bourguignon perspective

Francois Bourguignon speaking in the Plenary Session

Francois Bourguignon

Is the global financial crisis at the heart of the emerging landscape of development finance? Francois Bourguignon, at the opening plenary of GDN’s Annual Conference, says not. Bourguignon, Director of the Paris School of Economics, speaking in the session ‘Financing Development in a Post-Crisis World: The New Agenda’ believes that the changes in the global economy had already been set in motion before the crisis. This was underpinned by a shift over time from a focus on the quantity to quality of development finance.

For many years, policy makers and academics talked about a two gap model, which saw development countries as lacking investable resources and foreign currency. The solution to this problem was seen as increasing foreign flows, and this led to a focus on North-South flows of finance.

The quantity of development finance is no longer seen as the primary restraint on development. Bourguignon was keen to point out that this shift is linked to the evolution of the global economy, and the acceleration of growth rates in the South.

Emerging Economies

In the majority of emerging economies, finance is not seen as a problem because of advances in international capital markets, countries and their financial sectors. It was also outlined how this situation has been enhanced by domestic saving rates, which have increased by around 3.5% since the 1970s in low and middle-income countries (increasing from 20% to 23.5%).

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Expanding the reach of financial services

Audience at the 12th GDN Annual Conference

Audience at the 12th GDN Annual Conference

The discussion held during the session, Financial Crisis and Financial Inclusion: What we know, and what can be done? shed light on potential alternatives for financing development in a post-crisis scenario. The event showcased various case studies from Latin America and Asia on policy options carried out to promote credit access to a wider spectrum of the population. In the session, determinants and alternatives for financial inclusion were thoroughly examined, as well as potential obstacles which countries could face when implementing credit-promoting processes.

Luis Ballesteros, Project Specialist and Researcher at Mexico’s National Civil Protection System, delivered compelling evidence on increased participation of poor households in the financial system. His investigation of India and Mexico conveyed an important message on the role of social capital in household decisions about insurance service purchases. Ballesteros argued that both countries had in place a range of feasible alternatives which hold potential for extending financial services to the poor.

He argued that the existence of social capital among the poorest populations might encourage them to access financial services such as insurance. His research in Kalhandi, India showed how low-income groups presented above-average insurance acquisition rates due to their being part of tightly-knit social groups.

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