Our vision is to become the world’s leading content communication agency for government and the public sector by 2020 – our research is making that possible

Through the Department of Industry, Innovation and Sciences’ (DIIS) Innovation Connections Programme, contentgroup is working with the Australian National University to develop the evidence base to underpin our content communication method and develop toolkits for use in government and the public sector.

Dr Ying-Yi Chih, lead researcher on the contentgroup-ANU content communication project, gives us an update on the exciting work she and her team are doing.

About eight months ago, the National Innovation and Science Agenda identified the problem that small businesses and their engagement with university was a very weak part of the Australian innovation system. contentgroup was then fortunate enough to apply for and receive an Innovations Connections Funding. We are now using this grant to bolster our content communications methodology with evidence-based research and specially designed toolkits. As part of this, Dr Ying-Yi Chih and her team have engaged 20-plus governments from local, state, federal and multilateral levels, to test, validate and feedback on the contentgroup approach. David Pembroke speaks to Dr Ying-Yi about some of this feedback and where the project will go from here.


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Connect with Dr Ying-Yi Chih

Amitesh Kumar is a research associate on the Content Communication research project – a collaboration between the Australian National University and contentgroup. Amitesh describes his role in this project, and how he will bring theoretical underpinnings and knowledge into practice.

Nicolas Riquelme describes the process that informs the content communication research project – a collaboration between the Australian National University and contentgroup. Nicolas is a research associate on this world-first project.

Value co-creation is an innovative paradigm for service delivery (Vargo and Lusch, 2008). Its two core premises are that value creation is the primary focus for all service exchanges; and different parties co-create value for themselves and each other through their resource integration and interactions. This paradigm has been widely applied to advance knowledge and practices in different contexts (e.g. professional services and service innovation).

Value co-creation in the context of content communication involves three major participants, namely:

  • the government
  • the targeting stakeholders/citizens and
  • the content communication professionals (if applicable)

Each of these would have their own sets of values that they want to realise through the content communication project (see Fig. 1, Value Triangle in the content communication in the public sector). A strong dependence may exist among these three sets of value. For example, government’s value (e.g. raising awareness of a government initiative) will not be realised unless the stakeholders/citizens’ value (e.g. benefits from the public services) are properly communicated; the content communication professionals’ value (e.g. successful projects for the government clients) may not be realised unless both the government’s and the stakeholders/citizens’ values are realised.

Thus, effective content communication projects that can facilitate government-citizen communication need to create value for these three major parties. The toolkits developed at the end of this research will lay out the process, tools/templates, examples and measures to streamline content communication project practices from the value co-creation perspective, spanning the entire project life (see Fig. 2).

The purpose of the toolkits is to impart the techniques and tools of successful content communication in order to strengthen the communication capability of governments at a sub-national, national and global level.


Fig. 1 Value Triangle in Content Communication Projects


Fig. 2 Content Communication Project Phases


The development principles of the toolkits


Evidence-based and experienced-shaped.
The evidence base for the method and the associated toolkits will be developed based on an integration of state-of-the-art research from relevant disciplines, such as public administration (e.g. public engagement and open government) and project management (e.g. government project benefit realisation management). This process will also be shaped by solid industry experience, case studies and expertise.

The toolkits will focus on finding effective approaches to devolve influence to stakeholders/citizens to improve their responsiveness to the government initiatives, build social capital and enhance trust in government.

The toolkits will be developed following a rigorous research approach. During the development process, the draft toolkits will be pilot experimented. Feedback on the toolkits will also be solicited from academic and industry experts. Lessons learned and experts’ input will then inform the refinement of the toolkits to ensure their relevance, practicability and sustainability.

Recognising that a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach does not work for most communication problems, toolkits will be developed with the flexibility to be tailored to different contexts and resource constraints.

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