Tailoring communication to diverse target groups


Online Foresight Guide

The information needs to be tailored and made specific to the 'needs' or profiles of different stakeholder clusters or groups. Thus information on the foresight exercise, its design and implementation strategy must be presented in a different format to satisfy the profiles of different stakeholder groups.

Stakeholder cluster

Stakeholder characteristics – Examples of possible permutations

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Cluster - specific communication tools or media

Level 0

Lay public

Public sector

Foresight knowledge ¯

Thematic Expertise ¯

Awareness/Interest ¯

Media coverage providing generic information

Disseminating information on the results of the exercise.

Television/radio interviews, articles and press releases by foresight experts/practitioners and project implementation team.

Level 1

Decision-makers in the public and private sectors

Policy-makers

Foresight Knowledge ¯

Thematic Expertise ¯

Awareness/Interest ­

Website updated with conference proceedings, videos of conference presentations, links etc.

Public web-forums; brochures; awareness-raising events; training in Foresight basics

Brainstorming events; one-to-one interviews; newsletters

Level 2

NGOs

Industry, including SMEs

Foresight Knowledge ¯

Thematic Expertise ­

Awareness/Interest ­

Training in foresight basics; Scenario workshops; involvement in panels' videoconferencing; recording the foresight process.

Level 3

Academia/researchers

Foresight Knowledge ­

Thematic Expertise ­

Awareness/Interest ¯

Mailing lists; Delphi questionnaires; preparation of vision document and recommendations.

 

Level 3

Foresight Experts/Practitioners

Foresight Knowledge ­

Thematic Expertise ­

Awareness/Interest ­

Face-to-face communication via one-to-one interviews;

Interaction with experts may be sporadic and necessary to seek expert advice. Expert workshops and one-off reports.

A clear example of this is seen if one compares a practitioner/expert stakeholder cluster with a decision-maker or researcher stakeholder cluster. The latter two groups are less likely to be familiar with foresight jargon and methodologies and thus must be presented with information, which suits their background knowledge and accounts for their lack of familiarity and/or use of the foresight approach – the message in this case must be "simplified" by using images and selected keywords.

 A practical way of achieving this is through:

Smart communication

Specific communication tools (media) should be used to interact with and engage defined stakeholder groups or clusters. “Smart communication” refers to the use of parallel signals, in an analogy to the voice and ADSL signal being transmitted in parallel on telephone lines. These imply a targeted use of up-to-date attention-grabbing communication tools: coupling qualitative and quantitative information, graphics, YouTube-like videos and other multimedia materials, creative networks, open communities, theatre play, gaming, ambience design, and virtual reality which all aim at activating the five senses for a richer, more powerful and captivating communication. This may nevertheless have the drawback of loosing credibility, especially in conventional environments.

The aim is to produce targeted messages for different stakeholder groups, whilst essentially still communicating a common overall message. It is possible to assess the extent of take-up of this message by 'measuring' the amount of learning generated throughout the foresight process and which evolves beyond the implementation phase of the exercise.

Such stakeholder clusters are developed by first mapping the stakeholders, producing a profile for each stakeholder mapped, and subsequently clustering these on the basis of a set of established criteria.

See also:

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