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Chapter 11. Stage six: Continue > Diffusion channels

Diffusion channels

Building on the theoretical model offered in the previous section, you might need to undertake an analysis of the organization's practical capability to diffuse ideas. Ideally, you should map the transport mechanisms and consider how effectively they will expand and share knowledge. Consider the product team that has discovered a great new method for reducing quality costs on the production line. In an ideal world, this innovation would be rapidly transported across the business so that other teams can reap the benefits. Although organizations might suggest that their internal communication processes are open, speedy and flexible, they are often clogged up and slow. It is important to develop a clear picture of the channels as they are, not how the client or consumer thinks they are.

When trying to map how new ideas or knowledge will flow across a business after the consultant has departed, it can help to consider the impact that the various channels will have on the diffusion process. The definition of channel is any system, process or medium used to transport a piece of information from one part of the organization to another. It might be an internal newspaper, monthly team meeting, intranet system or grapevine. All will be tools to help continue the work undertaken by the consultant in the change project. The question you must ask is: what affect will the channel have on the knowledge as it is dispersed around the business? The following list takes the example of the introduction of a new quality programme and how the different channels will modify the knowledge flow:


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