There are a great many terms used to depict knowledge sharing activities. Terms such as knowledge brokering, knowledge translating, knowledge exchange, and knowledge mobilization are all used extensively, but the different terminology has hidden the fact that the actual functions they describe are all systemically related to each other.
In April 2012, a conference hosted by the United Nations University – Institute for Water, Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH) in Hamilton, Canada, brought together people from different geographies and different sectors who represented these different functions. The aim of the conference was to discuss their similarities and differences in the context of improving knowledge use in policy, industry and practice. K* (KStar) has been coined as the overarching concept, and as a useful shorthand.
Following the conference, Louise Shaxson collaborated with other involved organisations and researchers to produce the K* concept note and work continues on using the K* framework.