ICT Success = People First and Technologies Last

Does my recent rave review about xPotomac’s innovations mean I think all conferences should feature mind maps and tweets instead of PowerPoints?

I hope it goes without saying “of course not!” Why?

Due to POST, which I’ve written about before briefly. POST is a useful acronym coined by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff, the authors of Groundswell. It stands for People, Objectives, Strategy, and Technologies.

The acronym is a reminder to always start information and communications technology (ICT) communications planning by considering the capabilities, interests, and needs of your audience—not the hot technological tool of the day. If you are targeting social media influencers who own handhelds and live in the United States, that does enable leveraging their connections to get your message out in real time. If your audience is rural cell phone users in India, however, consider using speech, graphics, and touch interaction apps that work on old fashioned “feature phones.” If you’re reaching out to business travelers, focus on the ratings and review websites they frequent.

Once you have defined what makes the most sense for your audience, then set your objectives based on what you are trying to do. Inform? Energize? Resolve customer complaints? Foster collaboration? Crowdsource? Connect?

Your objectives will then determine your strategy. Imagine you succeed. How will things be different afterwards? Imagine the endpoint to determine what audience behaviors you harnessed, influenced, or changed. As I explained in my recent xPotomac post and an earlier post on encouraging social media engagement, this typically means much more than merely raising awareness.

The last step is picking specific appropriate technologies, the opposite approach of attempting to replicate xPotomac’s innovations with a reluctant audience or client and different objectives. That’s because ignoring POST, falling victim to shiny object syndrome (otherwise known as fondling the hammer), and mindlessly copying tactics is often the recipe for activity without accomplishment—not innovation and ICT success.

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About Monica

Monica specializes in strategic communications, web and new media, and print materials with an international or multi-cultural context. She has worked on national public outreach campaigns targeting multi-cultural audiences and has conceptualized, written, and/or designed multiple websites. Monica also has written, edited, and/or designed high-profile newsletters, brochures, and reports, including some prepared in collaboration with the White House. She holds a bachelor’s in journalism and a master of international service with a focus on international communication. Monica is based in Washington, D.C.