COMMUNICATION – INNOVATION

ASKING-THE-RIGHT-QUESTIONS

The 3° revolution

Internet means that ordinary people have opinions on everything and reinforce each other through surfing the web and internet discussions. Such discussions are often unfiltered and baseless.

Scientists and knowledgeable experts are reluctant to engage in public discusssion with ordinary people and believe that internet is full of unfounded ideas and accusations rather than peer reviewed science.

We are now in the midst of the 3° revolution – the information and technological revolution – that is bringing about an irreversible turning point in world history. One of the biggest consequences is the growing gulf between science/technology and society.

It is vital to forge closer links between science groups to do more interdisciplinary work and to bring ‘pure’ science and applied research closer together. The process must also involve collaboration with individuals, organizations, governments and companies.

Elaborated from an interview with Luise Fresco, President of Wageningen UR published in “Wageningen World” No3 2014. Some highly instructive videos on communications can be seen on: wurtv.wur.nl

Challenges to Innovation

I recommend the Video on the Thrive Movement as being thought provoking in respect of challenges to innovation. It is a bit too ‘smooth’ and I am wary of sewing lots of different phenomina together into one overall hypothesis….but….. (available online dubbed in several laguages) www.youtube.com/watch?v=lEV5AFFcZ-s

Scientists and researchers are not business people. According to a news release by Youris, a German blog on innovations management estimates that between 175 and 3000 ideas are needed to bring just one new product or service to the market. Venture capitalists assume that only one out of ten investment will pay, says expert Heinrich Cuypers. Most innovations are research driven (researchers try to drive the market with their innovations instead of adapting to the market) for the sake of science. Tough starting-up!

Innovation, changing consumer behaviour

Q.4  Through what means can a greater ‘culture’ of innovation be achieved?

A greater culture of innovation can be achieved through proactive collaboration between research bases, knowledge centres and R&D companies in the application of new technology and services. Connections with the media are essential to provide information and to foment a society more open to innovation.

The presentation and communication of technical innovation is not enough in itself.  Argument is of limited value and one cannot change people’s thinking with communication. Ref: “On Deaf Ears” by René Didde, “Wageningenworld” 8th July 2012 www.wur.nl/UK/publications/periodicals

Q.5 What are the most fundamental questions to ask when trying to introduce innovation? … What are you afraid of? … Why do you think it won’t work?…. Why do you think it’s not a good idea?

It is the creation of new consumer interest and behaviour that most determines the eventual success of a new product not the technological aspects. Innovators first need to understand the market and identify potential new behaviour patterns in consumers that could be created and satisfied by new products not yet in existance. These products will create added value and offer consumers new experiences. Innovators therefore need to question and disrupt the status quo; standard behaviour resulting from existing products and systems.

Potential users and consumers of new technology often hold other opinions for a variety of reasons. It is vital to contact the people concerned to understand their feelings and prejudices about how they see such innovation impacting on their lives, work routine and above all their beliefs. This may include religious beliefs. Least interest should be given to the opinions of radical and extreme groups, concentrating more on Church organizations, those of women, consumer associations, the Rotary club and such like.

Companies must take these apsects seriously and do more web-research to discover what people are saying about their company and products, in parallel with new product development and prior to introduction.

Q.6  Why we should examine the all-round impact of innovation?

People may have seen negative results from previously introduced innovation, even if unconnected with the new proposals.  If a new plant is resistant to aphids that cause the spread of harmful viruses, consumers will not be pleased when research also demonstrates the consequent reduction in insect predators such as ladybirds.

It is never enough for a Company to seek dialogue only on the technical points of a given innovation. Research & development by scientists and commercial interests should first ask themselves what uses this innovation could have on society. With particular attention on the integration of these new products, systems or services on existing society and less on the technology itself.

COMMUNICATION & INNOVATION – Asking the right questions

Reading and learning consume time and mental effort and involve memory.

Q.1  What are the relative advantages and disadvantages of digital media in promoting innovation?

Websites are ideal for presenting/searching for new products and innovative technology, news and events, contact information and networking. They have various advantages over the printed page; errors can be corrected immediated and pages constantly updated. They do not consume paper or physical storage space.

Internet is perfect for diffusing information on future events, their profile linked to more detailed aspects concerning visitor and exhibitor participation, conference presentations, pre-launch promotions of novelty products and services, travel and accommodation. Events are excellent platforms for net-working between relevant organizations.

The down-side is that web pages are connected to libraries and infinite number of links and possibilities of navigation. This can be dispersive. In contrast, print and books have physical substance, a beginning and an end. The actions of clicking and scrolling interrupt concentration that has a notably negative effect on memory recall. Browsing on internet is less dispersive when channelled through dedicated websites.  Further information and questions to follow.

One good example of a dedicated site in Italy is  Clamer Informa. This focuses on technical information for growers of bedding and ornamental pot plants. www.clamerinforma.it

Q.2   A great deal of online information is old, past its ‘sale by date’. When browsing, is it possible to have information presented in chronological order, at least for the first two pages?

Another part of the Internet problem is the huge quantity of information available and the velocity and transient nature of this information. This makes it more difficult to filter, verify or contrast, information and opinions. There is litle or no time or publications lack resources. Where the media is market led, this can result in the multiplication across the media, of partial truths, especially summaries that lack necessary context. Indeed it becomes easier to present promotional information that masquerades as technical when both aspects are cleverly interwoven. Where the net distinction between scientific fact and media interest is blurred, (leading in extreme cases to falsehood), democratic principles can be at risk.

Q.3  To what extent are publications responsibile in maintaining editorial rigour and independence? ..Without exercising due responsibility can they ever be independent!  Can they afford knowledgeable staff and the necessary time to check information and news in circulation?

In the digital era is it too easy to conceal mistakes, misrepresentation and bias? Most news is remodelled for delivery via print, tweet, web-stream, SMS and online text, but duch such variety of channels come at the expense of hard fact, proper investigation, credibility and truth? “Revealing the news: How online news changes withouty you noticing”. John Fass & Angus Main. Digital Giornalism. Read the full article online: Read the full article online

There is a trend whereby communications departments and promotional agencies take the initiative to produce  finished copy for publications. This is not accidental; it helps guarantee that communications are published more or less in toto, but turning publications into clients in the process. Most publications, however, manage a bit of both, according to their resources, to resist becoming mere resonance chambers for house-organs, political, marketing or personal interests.

01 Young people and internet pdf

02 Quality of information: some thoughts

Edward Bent ©2012 | HORTCOM

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3 Responses to COMMUNICATION – INNOVATION

  1. Pingback: Promoting Innovation | hortcom

  2. Pingback: Introducing technical innovation | hortcom

  3. Pingback: Tough getting innovation to the market | hortcom

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