A new project has just started this week and I’m involved in the communication work around it.
In our kick-off workshop, we discussed external communication but also, crucially, internal communication.
As one of the participants put it, what will make or break the project is not the plans and work packages and procedures and outputs but how the people involved work with one another. And with seven institutions, working in six different countries, communication with one another has to be as smooth as possible.
After an open and very participatory discussion about it, the central principle of communicating among ourselves will be the famous ‘KISS’: Keep it simple stupid.
And what does this mean in practice for this project? Setting up a simple file-sharing network (DropBox), sharing information about our activities and interesting information via a bi-weekly email newsletter shared on an email group and finally a monthly Skype chat with a representative of each institution to sort out issues.
This is almost as bare as it goes. It is both interesting and puzzling. Can this really be enough to encompass the different functions that internal virtual communication entails, i.e. (in an increasing order of complexity):
- Storing information to keep track of it later;
- Informing others in a simple way (displaying information that can be useful for others such as meeting minutes, procedures, checklists etc.);
- Discussing issues and sharing ideas;
- Working together on documents;
- Taking decisions;
We have set out to review this info-structure within the next six months and I am already curious as to whether or not it will work. But going for simplicity in a participatory way sounds like a very good starting point. Start small, fail, review, improve, start again…
Let’s talk about this in six months’ time. For now, I’m curious to hear what you think about our bare set-up…