Brainstorming on communication in R&D department

The following notes came from a meeting that I had with colleagues on how to communicate efficiently within the department (R&D department)

Why do we have to communicate, why sharing knowledge ?

Business

  • Brainstorming and idea creation are facilitated
  • Duplicate work can be avoided
  • Decision can be taken faster and in a more efficient way (better alignment)
  • Faster and easier involvment of new colleagues
  • Living Experts knowledge is captured

Individual

  • People have access to the same level of information
  • The team feels as a team (people cohesion)

Target Audiences

A R&D department (technician, engineer, researcher and project manager). The people are not necessary  in the same office.

What & How

  • Technical Communication / non-Technical Communication
  • Spoken Communication / Unspoken Communication
  • Live Communication / On-demand Communication
  • Short, middle and long terms communication
  • Face-to-face meeting: Technical Day, Local Pulse
  • Web conference : Technical Meeting
  • Newsletter : Monthly Management Report
  • Reporting : Portofolio Management tool, project presentations, project planning, technical notes

Communication strategy

Process committee meeting

Who : A small group of three persons
What : Innovation process update, administrative process update
When : 3 times a year
Time frame : long terms
Benefit : workflow efficiency, faster work

Department Day

Who : the whole team
What : 1 thème (example : communication faire savoir), 1 day
When : Yearly
Time frame : long terms
Benefit : En plus de la thématique, le team building

Department Meeting

Who : The whole Team
What : Team communication on non-technical subjects, work climate analysis, general information
When : monthly
Time frame : short terms
Benefit : Communicate every day life’s problems

Technical Day

Who : The whole Team
What : All projects are discussed during 1 day in a neutral location. Difficulty due to high Volume of information. Interactive communication
When : Yearly
Time frame : Long terms
Benefit : Same level of knowledge on the current project progress

Technical Meeting

Who : The whole Team
What : 1 project is presented during 45 minutes and the audience can interact. To be experiemented.
When : Monthly
Time frame : Middle terms
Benefit : Interactive communication, OPTIONAL attendance, could lead to a technical handbook

Local Pulse Meeting

Who : The whole Team
What : 1 hours, 3 minutes per person, weekly log of the project (incl. Risk, decision, problems)
When : Weekly
Time frame : short terms
Benefit : Risk sharing, problem solving, resource allocation

Global Pulse Meeting

Who : 2 to 3 persons from each geographic site, we call them connectors
What : 1 hours, similar to pulse but global, format to be defined/experimented
When : monthly or weekly
Time frame : middle terms or short terms
Benefit : interactive global communication

Monthly Management Report

Who : The whole Team
What : Report current month achievement and updates
When : monthly
Time frame : middle terms
Benefit : information on-request

More relative to KM than to Communication

TPD Knowledge Transfert Session:

  • Experts are training new employees
  • People receiving the information should report the learning (Technical Note)
  • The expert review and sign the technical note

Actions and next steps

Risk : Overcommunication -> No time for « real » work

  • Test the different new communication vector and give feedback
  • Work on the most appropriate way for non disruptive communication
  • Example : notify people when a new document is created in the knowledge base
  • Understand on how people look for the information, to do so identify some « profils » to perform the study : Technician, researchers, managers, …
  • Work on how to train people to locate the information

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