Case Study E
Land, Water & Wool was the most comprehensive natural resource management (NRM) research and development program ever undertaken by the Australian wool industry. It was a five-year collaboration between Australian Wool Innovation Limited (AWI), Land & Water Australia and 39 other research, educational and extension partners.
The Land, Water & Wool program developed more than 50 research-based information products to assist woolgrowers and their advisors interpret and apply the key findings emerging from the program in a commercial wool production environment. The program targeted Australian woolgrowers with research and information resources for high priority NRM issues to drive awareness and adoption of improved management practices at the farm and regional scale.
Given the research has the potential to impact on more than one quarter of the Australian landscape, including ecological assets of high significance that are privately managed by Australian woolgrowers, legacy was an important aspect of the program’s communication process.
A major synthesis process was undertaken in the final year of the program (2006-07), and forming part of this process was the development of a ‘Communication Program Handover Strategy’ by the Land, Water & Wool Communication Coordinator (Currie Communications). This strategy aimed to facilitate the effective ‘handover’ of appropriate and relevant program communication activities, information resources and intellectual property to ensure such resources were appropriately archived for fast, secure and long-term access.
The overarching Land, Water & Wool Communication Strategy had 3 key areas of investment:
- External Stakeholders
- Internal Stakeholders
- Corporate Affairs
Each dealt broadly with elements including knowledge development and management, motivation and awareness, advocacy, products and services, monitoring and evaluation and risk management.
Following extensive consultation with Land, Water & Wool investment partners, the following parameters were identified as being essential elements required by the Handover Strategy:
- Audit of knowledge and information resources (e.g. Product Summary)
- History of communications relationships and associated risks
- Log of ‘go to’ people for future reference; relationships map – who has the knowledge and is considered the custodian of the knowledge in the long-term?
- Determination of the on-going role of woolgrower/advisor networks associated with the program (and linkages to AWI’s new NRM Strategy)
- What do current intellectual property agreements mean for future use?
- A clear understanding of the ‘operating costs’ and benefits of continuing to manage Land, Water & Wool information; potentially including scoping out potential future expected demand and develop forecasts of costs for warehousing, postage, distribution, etc for administration and budgeting purposes
- Lifecycle planning (up to 5 years for some ‘high success’ products)
- Linkages to the program’s Monitoring and Evaluation strategy to evaluate awareness/demand as well as any likely future adoption or practice change initiated by the information resources.
Other elements of the Handover process considered by Currie, Australian Wool Innovation Ltd and Land & Water Australia, included:
- determining the future of the Land, Water & Wool ‘brand’ as an effective, future ‘trademark’ for AWI
- ensuring ‘significant’ products and services were secure in master format for future updating, reference or replication
- developing a separate handover process for on-line resources Land Water & Wool website and determining the appropriate ‘host’ agency and custodians for such resources if it was not to be the core program partners.
By Kim Mitchell, Currie Communications