Trilogy Tidings
October 2007
in this issue

     This month's topic is a weighty one.  But, if you're like me, you may find it fascinating.  It's about framing messages derived from scientific works.  This controversial view suggests that scientists should/must frame explanations of their findings to suit their various audiences, including the "general public".  Some call this approach essential to the public good, others characterize it as just "spin".  Surely, proper interpretation of scientific works is more important than ever; some would argue that the survival of civilization as we know it depends upon appropriate delivery and use of this information.  Maybe so, maybe not.  But it's certainly not a trivial matter.

     Even if you don't grant this topic as being earthshaking, its principles apply to the world of technology-driven business for sure.  You cannot be successful if you don't appropriately frame your technology concepts as potential business opportunities.
     So, I address both the ethereal civilized-world view and the pragmatic business-world view in this brief note.  I hope you get hooked as I have.  

Framing the Findings of Science 

     One of my favorite periodicals is The Scientist.  It's kind of a pop-science life science journal -- quite serious but easy to read with lots of emphasis on real-world implications of scientific discovery.  The October 2007 issue covers the topic of Framing Science in an article and an associated editorial.

     The article, by Matthew Nisbet and Dietram Scheufele and entitled "The Future of Public Engagement", makes a strong case for bending the message for the audience.  They cite examples in stem cell research, plant biotechnology and nanotechnology.  But I can readily translate their views to other critically important topics like geopolitics, environmental conservation, homeland security, energy policy, and such.
     The authors maintain that "60 years of research in the social sciences ... suggests that citizens prefer to rely on their social values to pick and choose information sources that confirm what they already believe, often making up their minds about a topic in the absence of knowledge".  They go on to suggest that "scientists must learn to focus on presenting, or framing, their messages in ways that make them personally relevant and meaningful to different publics" and "if scientists don't evolve in their strategies, they will essentially be waving a white flag, surrendering their important role as communicators".  In response to some of their critics, Nisbet and Scheufele maintain that "framing does not mean engaging in false spin", an attitude shared by many scientists and their organizations which "confuse strategic, goal-directed communication with marketing and public relations".
     An editorial by Richard Gallagher, Editor of The Scientist, which appears in the same issue comes down on the authors' side in favor of scientists framing their messages.  It also points the reader to the results of a survey on this issue conducted at the publication's Web site.
     Well, it seems to me there's no viable option to science and engineering professionals -- and knowledge workers generally -- taking on more responsibility for "framed communications".  It's unrealistic to imagine that various segments of the general public can possibly expand their scientific sophistication and interests enough to yield better societal decisions without expert, guided help. 
Thoughts to share?  Contact me .
Framing Your Technology and Business Concepts
     Now for a more mundane but certainly important application of framing principles: How to communicate your technology and business concepts to advance your commercialization interests.  Several years ago we defined something called ConceptVision as a mechanism to successfully communicate your technology concept and its business implications.  We devised an approach to crafting and getting your key messages across to the audiences that matter to your success.  This is not rocket science, but it's a formula that many seem to forget or short-circuit to their detriment when attempting to convert a technology to a business enterprise.  The model defines the contents, audiences and sponsors of the messages that need to be sent to convince others of the wisdom of your ideas.  Check it out here.
     The principles here are the same as before, although the implications are not as far-reaching.  Your ideas will not "get legs" unless and until you convince others of their commercial merit.  And the benefits will not be exclusively financial; those ideas will then be shared and appreciated (not to mention, copied) by so many more than if you had not successfully communicated them! 
Thoughts to share?  Contact me .
What does Trilogy do? 
     Trilogy Associates facilitates business growth and renewal through commercialization of new products, providing the following services:
  • Opportunity assessment
  • Business planning and enterprise growth strategies
  • New-product conceptualization, commercialization and marketing
  • Market research and competitive assessment
  • Business development and partnering
  • Market and technological due diligence
  • Assessment of the therapeutic and diagnostic potential of novel technologies
  • Design of efficient and effective development strategies for early-stage biomedical products
  • Business and technical writing/publishing

     Inquiries to establish whether and how we might support your business initiatives are always welcome.  Contact us.

Contact Information
Joseph J. Kalinowski, Principal