Dissemination strategies of social enterprises: when, where and what for? Impressions from II. RurAction Autumn Skills Seminar

On 12th and 13th November members of RurAction gathered together for its second Autumn Skills Seminar hosted by Otelo eGen. The two-day event took place in Otelo Vocklabruck, Austria. For two days scholars, practitioners and ESRs were engaged in a dynamic exchange of ideas regarding goals, and means, as well as “best practice” examples of dissemination strategies used both by scholars and social enterprises.

Scientific perspectives on dissemination strategies were covered by Łukasz Rogowski in his presentation on how visual dissemination methods can be applied when attempting to reach out to different audiences. It was discussed that one has to be creative when searching for ways and means of disseminating results to different audiences. This becomes important for RurAction since its focus lies in studying and conveying to policy makers the experiences of social enterprises, politicians and local population living in rural regions.

Although it is important to use different communication and dissemination techniques throughout the research process, it does not end with collecting and analyzing data.  The main end result of any research is not obtaining the data and getting the results based on its analysis, it is the dissemination of those results. This means that dissemination becomes even more important when it comes to sharing the results of the study and opening it up for a wider audience once first results are obtained.

Łukasz Rogowski presenting strategies of dissemination in visual research (photograph by Wolfgang Mader)

Therefore, for RurAction members, such knowledge is a key ingredient to the fruitful communication, cooperation, and networking of different stakeholders interested in our research.

While at the seminar, participants also had the chance to take part in discussions about the successful marketing strategies of Stevia Hellas (presented by Christos Stamatis), the dissemination strategies of the EPAM network (presented by Clara Lourenco) as well as ways for the promotion and diffusion of new ideas in regional development (presented by Martin Hollinetz and Wolfgang Mader).

Although the experiences of the enterprises discussed are rather unique, the common thread of all the presentations was the importance of dissemination. This could be the dissemination of information in the form of reaching out to the scientific community, local population or new business partners, for spreading out ideas. Conversely, it could include the dissemination of new insights and inputs for scientific study. Dissemination of the activities is extremely important when it comes to community building, and the involvement and empowerment of the local population. By reducing the knowledge gap and providing inhabitants with more information on projects, cooperation possibilities as well as network building at both local and regional level, social enterprises can better engage with and address the concerns of the communities they seek to help.  Moreover, dissemination is an important tool when it comes to policy change. As stated by Clara in her presentation, sharing practices and their results, members of EPAM, through different projects, have a chance to participate in policy development for the aromatic and medicinal plant sector.

Georgios, Lucas and Mara; Marina, Jamie, Susanne, Sune and Sunna (photograph by Wolfgang Mader)

 

The seminar shed new light on the successful dissemination strategies of these enterprises, and provided participants with an opportunity to learn new ways and means in this area. Our thanks go out to the local organisers – Martin Hollinetz, Wolfgang Mader and Susanne Kalka – for making us feel welcomed, and for facilitating such a fruitful and interesting seminar.

 

Marina Novikova