During 2021, I had the pleasure to lead a so-called “strategic project”, sponsored by the strategic innovation programme Smart Built Environment. The project was called Kunskapsspridningens premisser (eng. The conditions of knowledge dissemination) and focused on some key challenges presently confronting the programme. As is common, I collaborated on the project with Henrik Linderoth, and as one of the outputs, we have written a final report where we outline the main conclusions from the project. The report is called Resultatspridningens dilemma (eng. The dilemma of disseminating results), a name that is meant to reflect one of our main conclusions. The full report can be downloaded here. Below, you will find a short summary.
This report presents the results from the strategic project The conditions of knowledge dissemination (Kunskapsspridningens premisser) which aimed to develop an understanding of the conditions for knowledge dissemination in the current context, meaning in the Built Environment Sector. The starting point for the project was taken in previously identified challenges concerning how the dissemination of research and development (R&D) results should better reach beyond the actors involved in specific Smart Built Environment funded projects. The project has consisted of a number of work packages, in which the specific conditions, challenges and opportunities for knowledge dissemination have been analyzed. The results of the study are presented based on two perspectives; the first with a focus on the preconditions required for the dissemination of knowledge, the second with a focus on the nature of the R&D results and its relationship to the target group that is intended to be reached.
In terms of preconditions, the results show how ambition and capacity of the R&D creating actors is crucial for any work with knowledge dissemination to take place at all. In the cases where these conditions were in place, it was further shown how important it is for actors to be able to clearly identify their target groups, as well as understanding the logic of the R&D results and how these relate to the target group’s frame of reference. If a target group is clearly identified and there is a good agreement between the R&D result and the target group’s frame of reference, the dissemination of R&D results usually succeeds. However, if there is a lack of alignment or if the target group is blurry, it seems to be very difficult for the actors to reach out with the results. As part of the results, normative recommendations are given on how both Smart Built Environment, and the actors involved, can better ensure the preconditions (i.e., ambition and capacity) is in place, but also how to develop a better target group understanding and logic alignment.
However, the report concludes by raising a gentle warning for what we have chosen to call “the dilemma of disseminating results”, i.e., the difficult balance that exists between, on the one hand, improving the dissemination of results through better logic alignment, and, on the other hand, generating R&D results that genuinely challenge existing logics and thus enable the Smart Built Environment to achieve its ambitions goals related to industry-wide transformation.