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Acronyms and Metaphors: Tools for Communicating Innovation

Posted by Joe Antle on May 3, 2020 11:35 AM EDT
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Innovation has been a central focus for our group since the group's inception over five years ago.  Yet, we have found....

...that while the word innovation is used often by many people and in many contexts, it is still a difficult concept to grasp, to understand and to understand when and how to implement.  Much has been written about how important innovation is to apply to any endeavor, much less those that are focused on socio-economic needs.  And much has been written about how difficult it is to do so....and many formulas and theories for implementing innovation abound.

Here's a new one.  The importance of communicating innovation through acronyms and metaphors.

Let me disclose right up front that this theory is not based on empirical research.  It's not based on evidence-based anaylsis.  It's based on subjective observation, reading and much activity, reading and practical but modest scale experimentation.  

However, as is the case in all theories, it is based on the hypothesis that communication is a core aspect of any innovative endeavor, especially those that seek to engage a wide range of participating entities.  And that is focused on a socio-economic issue where collaboration to leverage scarce resources is important. Areas that have been very important prior to COVID-19 arrival on the scene and will likely grow in even greater importance as time goes on.

The power of acronyms that essentially spell out a slogan or a combination of words that describe essential elements of an innovation's purpose, focuse, formula for success or action steps is known.  And acronyms help build an easy memory reference point.

The trigger effect of metaphors to convey a visual image of the successful adaption of an innovation to a socio-economic solution, key steps or actions necessary to implement the innovation and sustain it and as a communications tool to drive acceptance and engagement in the innovation's potential and inspire meaningful action is also a great notion.

So, consider these examples of slogans that are made up or words that are both acronyms and metaphors....and link to a statement that expresses action towards socio-economic resolutions-either small and easy, or grand and difficult>

1. CARE to HOPE for Better Health: Community Action Requires Engagement to Help Other People Excel for Better Hope

2. CARESS US: Communication+Alignment+Research+Education=Uncovering Solutions

3. HELP the POOR: Healthy Education+Lifestyle Promotion-the Path to Obtaining Outstanding Results

While this simple exercise in linking powerful words as acronyms and metaphors into a description of the core essence of a socio-economic innovation is not a panacea, it can be a memorable way to communicate and engage participants and encourage them to take action together.

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