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Energizing the communications function by Steven Downey
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Energizing the communications function by Steven Downey


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Presentation made by Steven Downey, Head of Communications at GWP, GWP Regional Days Meeting, August 22-24,2012, Stockholm, Sweden

Presentation made by Steven Downey, Head of Communications at GWP, GWP Regional Days Meeting, August 22-24,2012, Stockholm, Sweden

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  • Anything from our morning Comms session? SWOT findings from previous day?   Historical perspective important In last 4 years, GWPO Comms has been “energizing” comms and knowledge-sharing in the network Not here to document that success but to give you a broad overview of what has been done, and then to open it up for discussion of our challenges in the area of comms and knowledge-sharing.
  • I’m going to talk in terms of ’revival.’ Because it acknowledges that good things were happening in the past. Revival simply means to breath new life into something, to b ecome active or flourishing again. The first revival to sweep through GWPO was the re-vamping of the entire look and feel of our publications. But a more important revival was taking place: with the ToolBox. We invest in a ToolBox Officer to upgrade content, to carry out a total ’quality control’ of the Tools, CSs, and References. We launch a New, Improved ToolBox Website on October 15, 2008. Being kept up to date: e.g., IWRM Plans introduced in 2010. And on Saturday we launch a new initiative with GWP academic Partners to explore how the TB can become used by even more universities than it already is. (TB: the one-stop-shop, online repository of IWRM conceptual and applied knowledge.)
  • In 2010-2011, we were swept up in another revival, this time GWP Shifts to Reporting on Results and Impact , through our Annual Report and the monthly e-newsletter. We started asking not just, ”What are we doing?” but ”So what?” ”What difference has it made?” The other revival is that GWP moves into the 21 st century in terms of technology, online and social media, including the Partners database. So, the result of these revivals: GWPO got its house in order. We’ve got a solid foundation on which to build. And we did it when financial and human resources were very limited.
  • Now what? Where will the next revival take place? Will it be at the regional and country level in terms of strengthening regional communications and knowledge-sharing? Again, as I said with GWPO, it’s not to imply that nothing is happening. We’ve got journalist networks, we’ve got technical expert networks, we’ve got other knowledge networks, etc. Comms and knowledge-sharing is happening in the regions. Does it need a revival in the way that the global needed one? We have seen some regions in the last 4 years ‘revive’ their comms and knowledge-sharing function/role. The seeds of that revival may have been planted when comms and knowledge sharing was made into a Strategic Goal and was fanned by the last 3 annual Comms Officer meetings. When GWP historians look back, they may say that the revival took off after last December’s training workshop, which focused on the development of regional websites hosted on a global platform. That workshop was demand-driven, that is, the Reg Comms Officers asked for it. [highlight new regional sites]. Something else happened: I think it dawned on us all that to do knowledge-sharing and communications in the 21st century required qualified comms officers and, preferably, full-time ones. To be clear, a Comms Officer’s job is multifacted. The Comms Officer job is not just a ‘reporting to Stockholm’ job. Generic regional comms officer job description: 95% regional focus (read excerpts). Which leads to our discussion of… Strategic Challenges: Ensuring that we have qualified comms people or having the “Comms Officer” doing comms and knowledge-sharing. Figuring out what capacity-building is necessary in the regions to enhance knowledge sharing and comms. Other challenges?
  • Malin Falkenmark: “Water is the bloodstream of our planet.” What is the bloodstream of a global action network? Maybe the answer is ’communicating knowledge.’ Steven Downey: “Communicating knowledge is the bloodstream of a global action network.”
  • Now for contemporary history: I’ve dubbed 2010 as the Year of Technological Innovation. Here’s why.
  • Before last year, the details of our 2,000 Partners were held in an Access database with very little functionality. Today, we have an online, accessible by the regions database which integrates with our website and allows us to handle Partner application online. Using in conjunction with voting tool for Statute changes. Will say more a bit later.
  • La piece de la resistance… the GWP website! I could get all emotional about this baby but I won’t. It should be enough just to say that this was this was the first GWP website in ten years so, in fact, it had to be built from scratch for the 21st century. Integrates with the Partners database Integrates with social media Increased functionality with RSS feeds, multi-lingual capability (CACENA)… highlight other features on slide Regions can mirror it with their own content
  • We are keeping track of numbers, but absolute numbers don’t tell the whole story. For example, patterns matter. We haven’t done a lot of analysis yet, and I can’t imagine this group wanting to discuss this detail, but I wanted to show that we do get into the nitty-gritty of trying to enhance our online presence.
  • Speaking about enhancing our online presence, in 2010 we selected social media which helps us communicate both internally and externally. Each online community serves a purpose and some are more exploited than others, but they are all free or virtually free and can be used as and when needed.
  • Most of you know IWRM. Comms is no different: the more integration, the better the management of the resources. So this is a simple picture of what some of the integration looks like (explain). And here are the benefits… not to mention making things a lot more efficient internally and making a lot more possible externally. Now, is that ’communications to die for’ or not?
  • # of subscribers: 1,700 from dozens of countries There isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t get new subscribers Sample organizations: International Rice Research Institute Water Integrity Network USAID Asian Development Bank National Institute of Hygiene. Ministry of Health Medellin Public Utilities Company Oxanto Deutschland AG Fair Jurists Foundation Kenyatta University Department of Soil Conservation and Watershed Management UNESCO Centre for Water Law, Policy and Science Wageningen UR Alfa Laval Copenhagen A/S IUCN World Bank eu-commission UNDP International Organization for Migration Media: James Workman Print out of media citations: mainly regional, for good reason There isn’t a day that goes by that we aren’t mentioned in some media somewhere in the world
  • Transcript

    • 1. Energizing theCommunications Function Regional Days, August 2012 Steven Downey
    • 2. 2008-2009Visual Image Revival and ToolBox Revival
    • 3. 2010-2011Reporting Revival and Technological Revival
    • 4. 2012-?Regional Comms/Knowledge-Sharing Revival? Dec 2011: Training Workshop New regional websites launched: Dec. 201: Caribbean Feb. 2012: CEE, Central America, South America June: CACENA and Med July: Central Africa August: West Africa Strategic Challenges: •Ensuring that we have qualified comms people or having the “Comms Officer” doing comms and knowledge-sharing. •Figuring out what capacity-building is necessary in the regions to enhance knowledge-sharing and comms. •Other challenges?
    • 5. “Water is the bloodstream of our planet.” Malin Falkenmark“Communicating knowledge is thebloodstream of a global action network.” Steven Downey
    • 6. IT Infrastructure: essential to networks“An electronic communications infrastructure,especially the internet, has been veryimportant for network growth and development[and] also essential for the effectivefunctioning of regional and global networks.”Networks and Capacity, Taschereau and Bolger, Feb. 2007, European Centre forDevelopment Policy Management
    • 7. GWP Launches Decisions Archive • Custom-made software to improve efficiency, and enhance financial control and accountability • Allows for easier monitoring of budgets and expenditures
    • 8. 2010, the Year of… Technological InnovationGWPLaunchesPartnersDatabaseNow being used by the regions. Using inconjunction with voting tool for Statutechanges.
    • 9. Multi-lingual capability (plus ‘google translate’)2010, the Year of…Technological InnovationGWP Launches First Focus on regionsWebsite in 10 Years Changing feature stories ‘Push’ area to highlight Social media events and publications
    • 10. Website Visitors 10,000 9,516 9,000 8,363 8,000 7,658 7,180 7,342 7,000 6,610 6,385 6,000 5,312 5,601 5,029 5,000 4,467 Visitors 4,288 Unique Visitors 4,000 3,000 2,000 1,000 0 Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar April
    • 11. GWP LinkedIn professionalGWP Launches network - Discussions on water issuesSocial Media - Jobs in and outside GWP Facebook Flickr Photostream - Online photos for global and - Sharing activities and successes regional publications - Highlighting relevant news, events - Photos for media Twitter: GWPNews GWP Blog Global Secretariats update of things to Occasional comments on read and issues to follow events and subjects of interest YouTube GWP Channel Sharing GWP videos and relevant ones Slideshare by other agencies - Sharing presentations during or after meetings - Highlighting GWP knowledge
    • 12. Remote database access (e.g., for RWPs) Partner Reports Monitoring Reports Benefits Sharing data with regions and allowing remote access enhances accuracy and reduces number of independent data Partner Applications stores. Newsletter sign-up  Cost effective technology  EU Safe Harbour compliantGWP Website Integrated Partners Search Communications Management
    • 13. GWP is communicating like never before (cont’d) Activity Progress Prospects NewsFlow Launched in May 2009 Greater marketing opportunities # of subscribers: 1,700 Opened to public in Nov 2009 with new website Sample organizations: You can follow us on twitter: Launched early 2010 Greater marketing opportunities 42 followers with new website Slideshare, Youtube videos Used for CP 2009, promoting Greater marketing opportunities the network (e.g., KWP) with new website Media relations Increasing coverage Further work needed Still working on metrics Events: Istanbul, SWW, Africa Strengthened cooperation Continue to build on success Water Week, COP 15, between global and regional Afr. W. Assoc. (Kampala) Website: interactive, regional Launch scheduled for May Increased interactivity, and a rollout 2010 whole lot more
    • 14. What are we doing (ultimately)?Reinforcing knowledge-sharing and communications (Strategic Goal #3)It’s happening globally and regionally and nationallyIt’s happening progressively: as a semi-autonomous network, a culture of communication has to be modelled... and then it spreads Context: small staff and limited fundsGWP is communicating like never before Strengthening the network in comms Increasing visibility
    • 15. Communications Strategy (fulfilling Strategic Goal #3)KEY TASKS (2009-2013)Define stakeholders (boundary actors, spheres of influence, audiences ) and desired outcomesReport on change and key indicators (e.g., Annual Report, work plan)Ensure inter-sectoral perspective (linking water more strongly to development and global challenges), e.g., Perspectives Paper, G8 and COP15Strengthen the regions (recruit and train COs, fundraising, etc.)ToolBox as central to knowledge-management/-sharingCreate web-based platforms that foster communications and knowledge sharing