3 Reasons Communicating Innovations Across An Organization is Difficult
Innovations are exciting and full of energy. They represent the potential future of a company and are the embodiment of strategic vision. More importantly they are an opportunity for a company to define itself and inject life into its brand and employees as they look to the future. Needless to say there is a lot riding on implementing and introducing new technologies across teams.
While having a solid communication plan in place should be at the core of any big internal announcement, there are a few reasons why innovations can be extra difficult to get traction inside your own company.
If you work in an innovation department do any of these tactics sound familiar?
- Lunch and learns
- Internal comms team
- And the list goes on...
Besides the boring nature of communication tools themselves, there are several other factors that can be serious roadblocks to scaling innovations inside of a company and especially across departments and teams that are not close to a specific project.
3 areas where innovation communication breakdown can happen.
1. Technical comprehension gap
Not all departments and levels of employees have the same technical background or knowledge that others might.
This gap can either confuse or intimidate team members from engaging with the rest of the communication.
What can help:
Using analogies to draw comparisons.
Adding visuals to supplement text.
Speak in simple and direct language anyone can understand. Remember, many departments aren't technical and use different vocabulary.
Link to support articles or resources that can supplement an innovation you are communicating. Links to more detail can help teams dive deeper if they choose.
2. Unclear how an innovation fits a strategic roadmap
Teams are busy and not always aware or informed of wider company strategies.
Not knowing the relevance of a new innovation can extinguish employee interest.
First initial thoughts of other teams... "Great, how does this effect me?"
What can help:
Make the communication exciting or at least intriguing to the department you are talking to.
Tie a particular innovation to a clear objective to show importance.
Frame an innovation in a larger context and connect it to other initiatives.
3. Documentation Overload
Innovations often have many ideations, revisions, results and redesigns, which can be overwhelming if presented all at once.
Documenting an innovation can be fast and furious in order to keep momentum moving forward. Some of these documents can be hard to comprehend from an outsider perspective if they aren’t personally working on the project.
What can help:
Simplify your supporting documents to just the highlights or big ideas.
Highlight important pieces in a document you want others to focus on so it is easier to find and standouts. Use text bolding, font size hierarchy, and bullet points to demonstrate clear thinking.
Ask yourself if you really need to include so much documentation on slides or in an email. If you can, then don’t include it... rather include a link to it.
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