Category: Challenges of Exponential Communication

30
Mar

The BLUR

Entering the world of BLUR

The world that we live in is blurred because the rules, the competition, everything, moves so quickly. What now matters is not a static photograph of the world (e.g., let’s take an accounting balance as an example of photograph, a photograph of the company in a specific semester), but what can we capture the movement of the things cannot be captured in a snapshot.

To enter the world of BLUR you have to move at its pace, and to move at its pace you have to understand how to moves. The three pillars in the BLUR world are:

  1. Speed
  2. Connectivity
  3. Intangibles

To understand, not clarify, that is the new objective. There is too much information, and the value of looking at the right piece of data and to understand its role is essential.

Individuals want access and answers all the time, the want to operate in real time, they want to interact online, from anywhere, they want to use platforms that learn, that anticipate, that filter, that personalize, that improve.

And if clients want all this at the time of purchase, why won’t employees want this at the time of interaction?

 

The Business Model

Understanding the structure of a business is just as important as understanding its business model. With whom they communicate and how they do it, what tools they use, to whom employees respond and when, are the main areas to improve if we want to build a culture of great communication.

The business model helps us decipher the underlying economic logic of a business to generate, capture, and deliver value, figuring out how to correctly identify clients and establishing an appropriate price. But what happens when the distinction between client and consumer disappears?

 

Producer-Consumer

Unidirectional communication between buyer and seller is a concept that has fallen out of use. We’ve stopped being merely consumers to be “prosumers”, moth producers and consumers. In the digital era, consumers don’t just consumer content, they also generate it.

Consumers have stopped being just receivers, but they most also generate information that is so valuable that we have to see them as producers also. Hence, the prosumer becomes a fundamental actor in business.

To understand the function of the prosumer it’s best to look at large platforms of collaboration such as HitRecord (www.hitrecord.org) a creative space with collaboration-based artistic content that draws people from all over the world. Here the platform is notable because the users generate the content that others consume and they can edit that content freely. Give the users a platform, and they’ll take care of the rest!

 

Internal Clients?

The further we get into the business model of our company the more we realize that the rules of the field have changed (and each time more rapidly), and that they are more and more implicit and difficult to see (there’s nobody telling you how, you have to figure it out). Two questions in particular jump out:

  1. What do we do with so much information?
  2. Are our employees also clients?

The term prosumer today has various synonyms according to the platform in which we find them. But we’ve heard people talk about them many times in the case of YouTubers: users of the platform who at the same time generate content for it. The same thing happened in Instagram, SnapChat and Twitter and Facebook, where companies who created these platforms aren’t responsible for the content, only to facilitate the generation, consumption, and distribution of it.

Before the first question let’s show a list of possible uses of information that, without being exhaustive, covers its principal uses:

  • To know where we stand
  • To sustain the current business or develop a new one}
  • To anticipate impacts in distinct business units
  • To win over investors, providers, clients, and candidates
  • To take advantage of opportunities
  • To focus and make efficient operations
  • To generate, capture, and deliver value
  • To invest

Information, then, serves not only to develop strategic plans but also to orient them, because all actions must be aligned with the company’s vision.

Before the second question we have to be cautious, because the answer is ambiguous. Our employees aren’t clients, but at the same time they are.

We have to live with this duality, knowing that employees form part of a team, that thy work towards the objectives of the organization, but that they also are internal clients, whom businesses have to respond to. Generally, however, we take for granted their commitments to the organization and, even worse, we take for granted that they make communication a priority.

10
Mar

Entering the world of BLUR

The world that we live in is blurred because the rules, the competition, everything, moves so quickly. What now matters is not a static photograph of the world (e.g., let’s take an accounting balance as an example of photograph, a photograph of the company in a specific semester), but what can we capture the movement of the things cannot be captured in a snapshot.

To enter the world of BLUR you have to move at its pace, and to move at its pace you have to understand how to moves. The three pillars in the BLUR world are:

  1. Speed
  2. Connectivity
  3. Intangibles

To understand, not clarify, that is the new objective. There is too much information, and the value of looking at the right piece of data and to understand its role is essential.

Individuals want access and answers all the time, the want to operate in real time, they want to interact online, from anywhere, they want to use platforms that learn, that anticipate, that filter, that personalize, that improve.

And if clients want all this at the time of purchase, why won’t employees want this at the time of interaction?

16
Feb

Construct, Measure, Learn

The Bayer Case

“Less is generally more”, says Mary Lou Panzano, Vice President and chief of internal international communications at Bayer. The multinational pharmaceutical company that is worth 6.3 billion euros, understands that they have to be deliberate when communication because that, unlike when they started 150 years ago, the threat today is not lack of communication but overcommunication.

The lab that synthesized aspirin for the first time at the hands of Felix Hoffman now has more than 110,000 employees in 277 cities. Bayer knows that these numbers present a large challenge for communication, especially internally, and because of this they pay special attention to it.

 

Methodology

Under the methodology “Construct, Measure, Learn” the pharmaceutical company developed a program that involves nearly 200 employees that give feedback about the messages and information that they share internally. This “Internal Nielsen Group” (referring to the ratings group of the United States consulting firm), tries to define problems that they will later creatively measure in order to continuously develop good communication practices

And how do they do it? An interesting example is the technique that Panzano uses to work on her internal communication: measure the number of unsent emails. Each time a member of her team goes to send an email that isn’t aligned with the strategic priorities of the company they discard it, ensuring that employees only hear what is truly important.

 

The Objective

Today, the volume of communication is overwhelming. Bayer’s answer to this problem (and the objective) is not to simply communicate more, but more effectively. And for that, we do not only need good practices, but a good internal communication strategy.

 

Since 2008 Mary Lou Panzano was part of Bayer, in the internal communications department for the United States. In 2013 she became the vice president of the company and managed the internal communications for all of Bayer at a global level.