Learning Exchanges

We live in turbulent times with ‘wicked’ problems. What makes our environment and modern problems so wicked? They are beyond the capacity of any one sector or discipline to research, problematize and implement. Their solutions emerge from diverse social actors, deliberatively designed to cross sectors, organizations, bridge solitudes and stovepipes. Solitudes refers to the deep geographical divides that characterize our country, i.e., East and West, Franco and Anglo. Silos characterize the divisions between sectors in this country, the research and the private sector. Stovepipes refers to the divides within organizations, for example, disciplines within post-secondary institutions and departments within governments. Further, their solutions and implementation require novel forms of collaboration and unprecedented cooperation between sectors and with civil society.

There are also science gaps between researchers and decision-makers, at the political and staff levels, and the two communities often speak very different languages. In an effort to bridge the science gap and implementation gaps between research and action, we have initiated two different types of peer-to-peer learning exchanges. A peer-to-peer learning exchange deliberately designs collaborative spaces that bring together diverse actors—researchers, practitioners, policy-makers and civil society leaders—to deepen and broaden knowledge mobilization and co-create innovative solutions for action.

MC3 Learning Exchanges

Peer-to-peer learning exchanges can be both place-based, virtual, or a hybrid of both. Three virtual peer-to-peer learning exchanges were led in the first phase of MC3 with just elected officials. A peer-to-peer, in-person exchange was held in January 2013 with policy-makers, local government staff and the research team. We have found that they are a very effective way to transfer research outcomes to different stakeholders in a very timely fashion, to accelerate the take-up of innovation between communities and to illuminate some of the local innovations that are occurring on-the-ground.