KISS my comms

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.

Keep it simple stupid (Image credits: Squidoo)

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…

Related posts:

Published by Ewen Le Borgne

Collaboration and change process optimist motivated by ‘Fun, focus and feedback’. Nearly 20 years of experience in group facilitation and collaboration, learning and Knowledge Management, communication, innovation and change in development cooperation. Be the change you want to see, help others be their own version of the same.

Join the Conversation


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Hello Peter,

    Thank you for sharing the ways the Nile Basin Discourse is organising internal communication – walking the talk of opening the news and process.

    Your choices sound very good and I’d love to hear what analysis of each tool comes back with in a few months time. In the meantime, I think we might be missing particularly the ‘conversations’ aspect – but I’ll be monitoring this closely.


  2. Hello Ewen …

    I like the simple approach. And indeed we are finding that the internal comms is as important as the external comms!

    For the Nile basin project we work on with IWMI, you can see the set of tools we are using at:

    Our ambitions include:

    – capturing and collecting and describing (all) the project outputs – openly
    – sharing news and updates about the project, over time, also about process and intermediate activities
    – facilitating conversations among the various people
    – providing a transparent sharing space for project members with basic project information, plans etc
    – looking at ways to make face to face meetings more effective

    It’s a steep learning curve for many of our scientific colleagues – but it pays off now after some 5-6 months experimenting and trying to change ‘usual’ workflows and communication cultures..



%d bloggers like this: