What do I need to think of in terms of communication?

Communication is a key activity in transition projects. Communication should be reticent to start with. Do not create expectations that you are not certain you can meet. Once your project is underway, the communication should be effective, on the basis of a vision, with a certain cohesion and intensity. Always try to convey the vision inherent to the project.

 General tips for communication

A number of tips learned from practical experience:

  • Tailor the communication to your target group. Study the issues that the target groups are dealing with and the long-term developments they are facing. Tailor your communication to them. In other words, formulate your vision and plans from a strategic perspective
  • Employ the same method for the media; explore the extent to which you can link the vision and the ambitions for the transition to wider public debates
  • Keep it simple: convey the key message
  • Use straightforward and specific examples
  • Give the experiment a catchy title
  • Use visual materials; a good film or a simple illustration often says more than an entire report
  • Involve the users in the projects and give them a credit
  • Use key ambassadors

 Communication with management

Devote special attention to the communication with the director or board of management of the relevant organisations. For collaboration in a network, sponsorship at management level is needed to release the funds and deploy the people who have to do the work:

  • Know what issues are important for the boards of management, what their concerns are
  • Maintain constant contact with the boards, preferably through a single contact person
  • Convey the message to the boards that what is now a rising star could later become a cash cow
  • Review any problems the project encounters with the boards; allow them see what is happening for themselves and to learn from it.

 Communication with colleagues

Other tips for communication:

  • Think of appealing ways to draw the attention of colleagues to the project and organise events to mark important milestones/successes
  • Avoid making discussions too abstract. For example, you could use role-playing exercises to illustrate the practical significance of the innovation. Use visual materials
  • Don't simply pass on information to employees; allow them to try out the new practices for themselves
  • Convince professionals by allowing users to describe their experiences
  • Use humour.