Sep 13

Communicating the New: How To Spread Your Ideas Today

Just finished reading Kim Erwin's Communicating the New: Methods to Shape and Accelerate Innovation.  It is an astounding book because it introduces a more powerful way of communicating new ideas and innovations.  What Ms. Erwin recommends is moving from the "presentation" form of communication where information is simply transmitted to the audience to the "constructionist" form of communication where the speaker and the audience work together to form the meaning.

You do this through a five-step process. In the first two steps, you prepare your content. In the third step, you analyze your users so that you can prepare them for engagement through the fourth and fifth steps. Listed below are the specific tools and methods for the steps:

  1. Finding the Center - Sharpen your thinking and know what you know
    Tools: Models and frameworks; Build-to-think prototypes; lists and open-ended writing
  2. Framing the Work - Define the new space and Develop a story device
    Tools: Metaphor; Stories; Mantras and Catchphrases; Contrast; Artifacts and Images
  3. Targeting Your Constituents - Fit knowledge to key participants
    Tools: The Communication Plan; Mental Model and Orthodoxy Assessment; Quad A Diagnostic; Organization as Culture Framework
  4. Introducing New Thinking - Create emotional and intellectual experiences
    Tools: Exploration; Immersion; Interaction; Application; Extension
  5. Expanding the Conversation - Reach new constituents and Help ideas "go viral"
    Tools: Communication Systems; Performative Presentations; Demonstration Artifacts

Recently, I have been working with the human-centered design theories and techniques to find a way to integrate them into Agile Policy Making and the New Theory of Government. This book fills in the vital function of combining HCD with communication.