Are you looking for training opportunities for you or your research group? We have workshops that could help you communicate your findings in more accessible ways. From creating a visual summary to collaborating with the industry, or designing a communications plan. However, if you are looking for something specific, we can also organise a bespoke workshop to tailor the session to your needs.
This was the case for this bespoke identity-building workshop we facilitated for the GreenPole team in Stockholm. In this blog, we share how the collaboration unfolded and what we did on the day.
Bespoke identity-building workshop
This collaboration started thanks to two researchers, Nils Droste and Dalia D’amato. They reached out to us because they wanted to organise an identity-building workshop for their newly formed research group.
We were surprised and delighted to hear from them as they work in two foreign institutions, Lund University (Sweden) and the University of Helsinki (Finland). We had not collaborated with researchers in Nordic countries before, and we were happy to expand our horizons.
[tabs slidertype=”simple”] [tab]Since the pandemic, we have had international collaborations with online sessions. Research communication is a common challenge for researchers everywhere, and we are happy to provide training and support, regardless of their location. If you are curious about our international collaborations, you can read more about them at Vrije Universiteit (Brussels) and CPA Ontario (Canada).[/tab] [/tabs]
Tailoring the workshop
We had an initial call with Nils and Dalia regarding their needs as a research group. This was an opportunity for us to know more about the GreenPole project, as well as their expectations regarding the workshop.
We learned that the project aims at identifying the impacts that forest policies over the last 20 years have had in Nordic countries, specifically in Finland, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. The project brings together different methodologies and disciplines to understand the trade-offs of forest policies from different perspectives, including the economic, ecological and social.
Given the breadth of the project, researchers from different areas and institutions need to work together. Since the GreenPole project is only just starting, Nils and Dalia wanted to strengthen the team spirit of the group. We discussed the project and the impact they wanted it to have. By the end of the meeting, we decided to focus the workshop on three main sections:
- Building a shared identity for the team: articulating a shared mission and vision
- Creating an action plan, including important dates and events for all the researchers throughout the project
- Discussing how they wanted to communicate their findings to key stakeholders
The excitement of travelling
From the beginning, Nils and Dalia expressed their interest in an in-person workshop. Since that the pandemic restrictions were no longer preventing us from travelling, we were happy to go back to this format. We met in Stockholm, a midpoint for all participants, and stayed for a couple of days.
It was exciting to plan for the trip and prepare for the in-person workshop after facilitating online sessions for so long. Another source of excitement was that Phebe, a research communicator of the Research Retold team, would meet Mihaela (founder and director) for the first time face-to-face. Since they met during the pandemic almost two years ago, all collaborations had been carried out remotely. Thus, the GreenPole workshop offered the opportunity to gather the Research Retold team as well.
The bespoke workshop was one of a series of events during the week that Nils and Dalia had prepared for the GreenPole team. The researchers had already met in person on Monday. This was useful because we could focus on the identity-building section right away when we started on Tuesday morning.
1. Building a shared identity
We began working on the shared mission and vision of the GreenPole project. During our hybrid meeting – accommodating an online attendee – we presented the key components of a mission statement and some examples. Next, we continued with exercises that allowed all participants to input their ideas and compare them with others’. It was an enriching discussion since researchers came from very different backgrounds, from agent-based modelling to circular economy and biodiversity governance.
2. Defining key stakeholders
One of the main concerns of the researchers was how to make their findings actionable. In our experience, making research useful for societal change is related to defining the key stakeholders. However, since the GreenPole team is interdisciplinary, the participants had a long list of possible stakeholders they wanted to reach out to.
To help researchers focus their time and energy, we discussed the decision-makers that the team should focus on. In doing this, we considered which stance the researchers wanted to assume: proactively advocating for change or neutrally providing scientific evidence to support decision-making. We also discussed the time frame of the research and the resources available to carry out dissemination activities.
3. Creating the action plan
In last section of the workshop we created an action plan. This contained deadlines and events that the team needed to be aware of to plan ahead. While creating this plan, other needs of the team became apparent. For example, the researchers decided they required a website that contained general information about the project and a LinkedIn page to interact directly with key stakeholders. Creating an action plan was useful for assigning tasks and setting deadlines as a group.
By the end of the session, the GreenPole team had a one-page explainer document of their research project. This document states who they are, their vision, mission and main activities. It is a useful document to present the project to the world as well as new potential members joining the team. They can also refer to this explained when disseminating their findings.
“Research Retold met our needs with their bespoke workshop spot on! Do you need communication training, identity building, or strategizing workshop? We highly recommend reaching out to Mihaela and her team.”
Nils Droste, University of Lund
Facilitating this bespoke identity-building workshop for the GreenPole team was an exciting collaboration. We are grateful to have helped the seven researchers with different skills and ideas come together as a team.
We are looking forward to our continued collaboration with the team and further supporting them on their journey.
Do you think your research group could benefit from a bespoke workshop? What are your research communication needs? If you would like to organise a session write to [email protected].
Many thanks to our Research Communicator, Phebe Bonilla, for writing this blog post, attending the workshops and taking these awesome photos.