We started the Strategic Communications Workshop with a round of introduction in presence of the Transition Management Team (TMT) with the question: Please share one piece of work that has been exciting in the last six months or so.

Obviously we wanted to impress the TMT with all the interesting activities that happen in the centers, but we also wanted to kick the workshop off with some energizing ideas for our communications work. Here are some of the replies:

  • We started to design the campaign for the International Year of Biodiversity
  • We got huge coverage of the food price crisis and our Indian state-hunger index generated enormous interest and reactions
  • We were successful in communicating our EPMR
  • The last issue of the Climate Change Caravan was very successful
  • We achieved high levels of staff engagement around our center strategy
  • We started to use social media
  • We were able to cover 7 media stories
  • The journalists who have been visiting our center got very excited about our work
  • The work around the Passion Beyond Normal book was rewarding
  • We had a energizing workshop of our knowledge management group

The prospect of more collective action among centers with regards to communications seemed the most exciting for participants. This became very clear during another but related workshop activity that happened during the River of Life where participants shared their ideas for improvement related to our collective work.

  • Build capacity at different levels, from scientist to director general, for communications and media work.
  • Expand our media coverage into languages beyond English with French and German translations.
  • Develop performance agreements between communications staff and their directors general that include collective action work.
  • Provide centre communications staff with incentives for collective work.
  • Develop a matrix of shared activities and projects.
  • Develop central, shared resources such as media database.
  • Communicate big global themes and issues.
  • Energize collective communications so that campaigns are not driven by the Secretariat alone but rather get everyone involved and taking ownership.
  • Unify messages for common purposes.
  • Do more collective communication events.
  • Place communications high on the agenda of the CGIAR chief executive officer.
  • Understand the communities we are trying to reach so that we can control our messages better.
  • Use innovations to target our audiences (e.g., start with social media.)