No print - 'thinking and linking' order of the day at RIU
30 November 2010
Since July 2010 RIU has not bulk printed any brochures, documents or reports.
, from the communication team explains:
"Too often at the end of projects large numbers of publications are thrown away.
We took a long hard look at what we were trying to do. We decided that the communications role for a project working in a dozen countries on over 40 experiments was about information brokerage and that this was a dynamic function.
We also wanted to create a link to other DFID investments, such as the work funded under the RNRRS and other communications tools like AGFAX and the R4D website.
We could not see how printed documents fitted into this strategy."
RIU set about creating a website which could reflect the need for 'thinking and linking' ideas and people from across the RIU family and outside. Web functionality is ideal for enabling this information brokerage approach: RIU has identified the need for brokerage at all levels to help make the transition from research into use.
RIU's website was also designed to allow people to tell their stories in their own words - so blogs (which we call Updates
) and short films (which we call RIUtv)
are an important part of the strategy. As the quantity of information started to grow, it became necessary to look at creating listings and signposting approaches - so we introduced RIU highlights
and a 10-minute monthly RIUtv News bulletin
. These products mean that, in just a few minutes, our friends and associates can stay up to date with what we do.
"Coming from outside the development sector to work on RIU I was struck by the fact that all too often photographs of African and Asian farmers, project workers or lab staff were unnamed in photographs - and yet the photographer got a name check! We decided that in the development of the website we would treat people with dignity and courtesy - that means names in photo captions were a necessity. Once a farmer has a name they are a person not just a statistic."
RIU is now exploring a print-on-demand service for some of the longer documents which are being developed by our research partners.
RIU communication products: