Communications in organizations dedicated to social innovation.

During the “empowering people. Onsite” workshop in Bogotá, Colombia, we got to talk to one of the participants, Anita Rivera:

Hello Anita. Could you please explain to us what type of organization TriCiclos is and what your part in the organization is?

Well, TriCiclos is a so called “empresa B” (B Corporation certificated) – it was the first company with such a certificate in South America. We are based in Chile and Brasil where we conduct our main operations. We are dedicated to recycling and at the same time to changing the cultural habits of the people in regards to sustainability. We do that by actually showing them what recycling is and by offering solutions for recycling their household waste.

I have worked for TriCiclos for 3 ½ years now, but TriCiclos itself has existed as organization for 6 years. My position at the moment is commercial manager and at the same time I am a partner in the company.

Thank you. The “empowering people. Onsite” workshop we are having at the moment treats the topic of “communications”. What are, in your opinion, the main challenges your company has to face, regarding communications?

I think that the main challenge is to identify our audience, to detect and get to know well the target group in order to transmit an adequate message. Furthermore, we will have to identify the internal resources that we have to use them and extract them properly in order to work on the communication process. I feel that until now skills in communications are assigned less priority and that we are doing communications rather reactively and only when the circumstances require a reaction. But there is no communication strategy – and to have a person in charge of this process, who can handle it well and professionally – is just not the main goal so far. This is understandable, because in companies like ours, there are so many other urgent issues and priorities one has to tackle in everydays’ negotiations.

But what I did realize in this workshop is that it is extremely important and fundamental to incorporate and look for a way to create the space and time to actually work on this communication strategy – no matter, how small it may be.  So basically the biggest challenge will be to find those resources and the space where you can execute the communication programs in.

And how probable do you think is the implementation of what has been learnt here?

How probable? Well, I’m not sure. If you see how much we learnt in the workshop and in general in the whole professional spectrum that has been shown about how to do it better, it is quite probable that we won’t implement 100% of it. But we will for sure implement some smaller pieces and improve in little steps. Maybe there will be improvements in social media communication, in the webpage, in our interviews or in communications in general, mainly in how we address the public, and I think this is exactly where we should start off. We will begin with a step-by-step plan.

How did you perceive the atmosphere in the workshop in general?

Incredible and I love it. I’ve had a great time, I enjoyed it a lot, mainly to get to know the other entrepreneurs of Latin America, what they are working on in their different countries and the impact they are creating. Getting to know those very interesting people is very enriching. I feel like there has been a very nice spirit within this workshop and so far the experience has been really great.

So it seems that you do think you can benefit from listening to the experiences of others, although they might not be working in the same “field”?

Yes, in every possible way. This is exactly what we were talking about, also within the group: Everyone here is like a small entity that is working in different fields and on different topics – but eventually, our challenges are the same. How do you sell your product, how can you improve your product, how can you reach more clients, and how do you measure your impact? Those are among others the challenges that we all share, independent from the topic we are working on. We are individually all very small entities – so there are immense ideological challenges that we are facing in our daily work, due to the fact that every one of us is confronting this huge world every single day. On the basic level, everyone is working with a lot of energy to at least contribute a little bit, and it is very comforting that there are others, other entrepreneurs, and other people working to contribute similar bits with this similar level of energy to improve the world.

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