'Ha, I almost forgot; we need a dissemination strategy for the report. Get somebody to sort that out. Meeting adjourned.'
You guessed right: the statement above usually occurs at the end of a long meeting discussing 'substance'; then somebody realizes that if the department/organization has spent all this money on this piece of research, it might be a good idea to get somebody to 'disseminate' it.
Usually, they have not given the matter serious thought. They have not answered basic questions.
- Why did we carry out the research? What do we want to achieve with this?
- In what way do we want the world to be different?
- Who needs to know about these results/insights/findings and act on them
- What would it take for these things to happen? And so on.
The truth is obvious if the matter is given serious thought: merely disseminating a report does not get you anywhere near an impact on the world. But I hear the word so often -- as you can guess it really gets on my nerves -- I thought a basic primer might be in order. So, here are some basic definitions from Roget's 11: The New Thesaurus.
Disseminate: verb, To pass something out: circulate, disperse, distribute, hand out.
Engage: verb, To get and hold the attention of: involve, occupy.
So, now it is fair to ask: do you want to merely disseminate or do you want to engage other minds? More important, are you serious at all or is it the case that you don't really care whether your expensively gathered data/insights/ findings make any difference?
Photo Credit: Flickr user andrewodom