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Learning the lyrics – people not technology, behaviours not activities

At Granicus’ Digital Engagement Day in Bristol (22 March), the Perago-Wales team will be leading a workshop to explore the role of communicators in digital transformation and demystifying ‘agile’. Directors Victoria Ford and Ross Gregory will give an overview of agile delivery, and you’ll have a chance to learn about LYRICs (more details below) and explore the challenges facing you as communicators, as organisations embark on significant change to meet changing user needs and expectations. 

Digital engagement covers a multitude of activities, skills, collaborations and outcomes. It is something that has rightly become an integral part of most comms teams, supporting engagement with users and colleagues alike. But what is the role of communicators in supporting wider organisational transformation driven by digital? How do we use our skills, knowledge and experience as communicators to make sure transformation really does meet user need and drive sustainable change?

At Perago-Wales we focus on supporting organisations to deliver services that meet user needs and, in doing so, transform ways of working within organisations. Our experience spans agile delivery, programme management, technology transformation, change management, communications and more. The definition of ‘digital transformation’ is often debated, but for us we are clear that it is more than technology and to truly transform and meet user needs, collaboration is key and change needs to go beyond agile delivery teams and across the wider organisation.

So what is the role of communications professionals in supporting and driving this collaborative change?

People rarely argue that communications aren’t needed. In fact the words ‘it’s critical’, ‘without effective communications we fail’, are all too often heard, but what should the role of communications teams be in transforming through digital and how do they collaborate with delivery teams to deliver real change?

Demystifying agile 

There are lots of organisations that will help you deliver digital transformation, lots of frameworks and tools that help you work in an agile way and that’s great. The problem is it can also come with a bunch of jargon which can be confusing and an air of exclusivity that’s not helpful for people who are new to this way of thinking and working. For us it about people. People are the common language that helps organisations deliver amazing results. They are at the heart of the outcomes you are looking to achieve whether they are end users of your service or product or helping to create it. If you give people the space to collaborate with each other and end users, promote transparency and create a safe environment to learn and improve you can’t go far wrong.

 Listening to the LYRICS

If you’re not part of an agile team and haven’t experienced working in an organisation that is transforming through digital, then it is easy to think that your skills as a communicator need to be somehow different to be successful.  Well, as Mark Dalgarno explains in his recent post, agile ways of working are radically different, but it is actually more about behaviours and adopting agile ways of working than having to learn new skills sets or activities. There are already some brilliant resources out there for communicators, whether that be campaign models such as OASIS on the UKGovComms site, The IC Space  or Comms2Point0. These, and other sites, give approaches, case studies, models and training on best practice in communications. All of these remain relevant for communicators working in agile teams and as part of digital transformation programmes. Where we need to think differently is in the way we use our skills, how we engage and how we support agile teams through different ways of applying those skills. We’ve put some things to think about into a handy acronym – so make sure you have a think about the lyrics!


Continuing the conversation

We look forward to meeting you at the Bristol Digital Engagement Day on 22 March, and hearing more about your challenges and sharing learning from across the public sector. You can register for this free event here.