The challenge for policymakers is to ensure that the decision‐making process effectively meshes different types of knowledge such as scientific knowledge, knowledge of the local context and wider knowledge of what has worked in the past; and to do this whilst involving different types of organisation such as line ministries, research providers, non‐governmental organisations, advocacy groups, local delivery bodies and citizens. Supporting this complex decision‐making process often requires people and organisations able to facilitate the links between these different groups; working as neutral intermediaries to translate and ‘broker’ different types of knowledge.
Because policy processes are complex, there is no single role for knowledge brokers. Instead, they perform different functions at different times and for different issues. Understanding this helps managers develop a strategy for investing in these intermediary/brokering functions; deciding how to do so cost‐effectively, what exactly it would entail, what would need to be in place, and what sort of return they might expect.