Are you looking to build a new knowledge translation (KT) program from the ground up? Perhaps your organization already has a KT Program, but you would like to make it more visible, demonstrate the value of what you do to your coworkers and ultimately grow the program? In this blog post, I share five tips for building KT friendly organizations from KT professionals who have successfully done so in the past.

At SickKids, we offer professional development courses for individuals interested in learning more about KT. Our five-day Knowledge Translation Professional CertificateTM (KTPC) course aims to develop core competencies of KT work in Canada, as identified by a survey of KT professionals (Barwick et al., 2010). Course participants come from a wide variety of sectors and organization types. Many belong to well established KT programs and teams, while others are pioneers within their organizations, running a one person show and still looking to demonstrate the value of their work to their leadership, to their sectors, or sometimes even entire countries.

KTPC Casebook Title pageOn the last day of this week-long course, we invite alumni to share stories of how they’ve built KT friendly organizations, what were some challenges and successes they’ve had, and what lessons they learned in the process. In order to share this wealth of information beyond the participants of our course, we decided to capture 10 of these stories, including our own, in the “Knowledge Translation Professional CertificateTM Casebook: Building KT friendly organization in healthcare and beyond”.

Casebook authors come from diverse sectors (consulting, non-profit, academia, education, healthcare) and team structures, yet the tips that were shared with our readers are universal and grouped into five main themes. I have summarized these for you and hope that you will find them useful when building your own KT friendly organizations.

Five tips from our KT experts:

  1. Explain what KT is, do not assume that everyone in your organization is on the same page. Help people understand how they are already involved in translating knowledge so they become more familiar with the term.
  2. Align your KT work with the strategic direction and vision of your organization, as well as the needs of the community you serve. To understand community needs, conduct needs assessments, understand your context, and adapt/mold what you offer to that context.
  3. Share your knowledge and provide value to empower others. Do this at all levels (leadership, practitioners, researchers, clients) and make sure that that you see things from their perspective. As a result, things will be more meaningful for them and they will trust you, believe in you, and support you.
  4. Determine clear goals for your KT program and create a monitoring and evaluation plan so that you can course correct and easily capture impact. Impact is best captured by collecting both metrics and success stories. Share these with the leadership team to demonstrate the value of your work.
  5. Partner with other experts and leaders in the field who can help you achieve your goals. However, do not underestimate how much work it takes to establish and maintain those partnerships.

To learn more about KT teams within these 10 organizations, download your own free copy of the KTPC Casebook from our website.


Barwick M, Bovaird S, and McMillen K. Building Capacity in Knowledge Translation: Characteristics of Knowledge Translation Practitioners in Canada. Health Research Transfer Network of Alberta (RTNA) 2010 Conference, Edmonton, Alberta. November 21-23 2010.


Srdjana Filipovic, MSc, PhD is the Knowledge Translation Program Manager in the Learning Institute (LI) at The Hospital for Sick Children. Her work focuses on building capacity for knowledge translation (KT) and supporting KT initiatives across research, clinical, corporate and education project hospital-wide. Prior to joining the LI team, Srdjana worked as a biomedical researcher at The Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute at Mt. Sinai Hospital investigating factors affecting tissue growth and cancer. She holds a PhD in Molecular Genetics and a Masters in Physiology. Her professional interests include patient education, clear language communication, design thinking and innovation.