A few thoughts for information sharing Talking with one another is loving one another. Effective information sharing leads to effective collaboration. A boat cannot go forward if each rows his/her own way. One head does not contain all wisdom. The corporate culture that supports information sharing is ahead of the one that does not.
Basic objectives of information sharing To strengthen relationships between EADD staff/partners and to create new ones. To exchange knowledge, lessons learned and best practices. To keep all EADD staff and stakeholders well informed about implementation process, conferences, events, workshops and news. To enhance consistency in our messaging. To improve coordination and decision-making, and therefore team performance. To highlight EADD profile. To enhance better planning and budgeting. To have a collaborative working environment.
Sharing information within EADD What kind of information needs to be shared? Project progress- semi annual reports. Outcomes of surveys. Impact stories from the field, achievements, challenges, lessons learned. News and events at both country and regional level. Outcomes of staff deliberations. Training manuals Photographs from the field, offices, meetings/events etc
Effective information sharing guidelines Communicate clearly and promptly, to allow proper planning. These include upcoming events, meetings, lessons learned, stories for newsletter. Develop distinct channels through which information flow. E.g. all events/meetings should be communicated through the respective communication officers. Build information sharing into your strategic plans. Ensure that you are giving the information to ALL those who need it. Always indicate whether feedback is needed
Side effects of not following the right communications channel Lack of proper coordination between EADD staff whether at the different cluster levels or in the different offices. Lack of consistency in messaging leads to a confused audience e.g. EADD being a 4 year/10 year project, EADD vs. EADDP. Compromise on quality of communication materials e.g. brochures, posters, training manuals, displays, newsletters Lack of proper planning leads to poorly coordinated events EADD loses credibility as a reliable source of information especially with the media Key stakeholders loses on information that should have been shared with them.
The role of regional communications office Provide support in the following areas: Providing templates for all communications products as per the guidelines in the handbook and strategy this enhances consistency in both quality and messaging Providing input and editing of all communications products before going to print. Media liaisons (including approving all communications to media, media trainings for staff) Advise on the best communication channels for different audiences. Maintain the EADD website (once in place) Backstop project site activities e.g launches, field days. Collect stories for website, newsletter through country communications officers.
Communicating externally All communication related products used in promoting EADD’s work such brochures, banners, handouts etc (both print and electronic) All media communications
Key highlights from our communications strategy Provide a basis for delivering a clear and consistent message to our stakeholders Provide a framework for making the best use of resources for communication work Enable EADD staff to understand the needs of stakeholder communities and provide them with an array of products tailored to those needs Simplify our core messages and consistently present complex technical work in a language void of jargon Build awareness of the project among a wide group of audiences and user groups.
Who are our key audiences? Staff Dairy farmers Media Key industry players e.g. processors, private sector companies General public Policy/decision makers e.g governments Donors (BMGF), potential.
2009 communications calendar of events Month Event late January/early February March last week of May June November dairy industry stakeholder workshop launch of farmer competition 5th African Dairy Conference and Exhibition staff media training annual dinner Venue Nairobi chilling plants South Africa country offices Nairobi Responsible regional communications Officer assisted by regional team team leaders/country communications officers assisted by regional team ESADA external media expert/Communications officers regional Office
Celebrating achievements Communications strategy in place Communication brand document in place Support provided to country offices in terms of backstopping events, providing templates First edition of newsletter out- next one in March. Communication products including banners, folders, seasons greetings cards, business cards at both country and regional level.
We need your feedback! … how best can the communications office support you? … what do you need most from us? … are we giving you enough/too little support at the moment? … what specific resources do you need to successfully communicate and achieve our objectives? … how do we get to GREAT?
Key things to remember Our external newsletter is quarterly, we need stories from you- always plan ahead for future editions. The next issue is in March, deadline for submitting stories is 13 February 2009 ! Our website is due early 2009, possibly by April. Organize your information that would go to your respective pages –we will need profiles of ALL sites to begin with. A picture is worth a thousand words! Send photographs from the field.
Remember Its not the hardware and software but the ability and willingness of team members to participate in the information sharing process that will take us to the next level Information sharing is essential to collaboration for any design project. A virtual team is only as strong as the information it shares. Everyone benefits by sharing information!