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Communication is everything, and ENLETS is a great example

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Good ideas are key to innovation and progress, but the more complex the research and proposed solutions become, the more difficult it is to achieve the goal. In such situations, communication becomes a significant factor in determining if projects can accomplish their objectives. Like oil that lubricates the machine, the engine can’t run alone. What does it look like in practice?

Since we often conduct tasks connected to communication, we frequently receive questions about what that looks like in practice. In this article, we address the question using an example of one of our complex initiatives ENLETS (European Network of Law Enforcement Technology Services), in which we are the Secretariat.

The title statement, “communication is everything” is, of course, quite bold, especially when outstanding specialists in their fields surround us. Their knowledge and experience ensures results reach the high levels needed to deliver significant impact. Nevertheless, observing many advanced projects during implementation, we repeatedly see how crucial it is to facilitate the exchange of thoughts and ideas and how it is critical to link experts together.

ENLETS is a great example of how ambitious goals can be achieved through thoughtful communication. The Polish Platform for Homeland Security (PPHS) acts as the Secretariat of ENLETS and deals with, among other things, facilitating access to information between stakeholders.

The recent meeting in Athens for the i-LEAD End Conference and dedicated ENLETS sessions provided an ideal opportunity to communicate and exchange knowledge and good practices. It also prompted us to share our experience in this article. Therefore, we want to indicate the main areas where we carry out communication in ENLETS, but also to clarify the Secretariat’s role in a large project.

i-LEAD End Conference and ENLETS’ TIG Meetings: Athens, February 2023. The event enabled ENLETS’ members to cooperate and exchange knowledge, ideas, and good practices in a fruitful and productive environment.

Support

Although activities of the communication department are usually associated with directing the message outwards, it must first deal with the internal exchange of information. In the case of large initiatives, this stage can be particularly vulnerable to failures.

ENLETS was established in 2008 to strengthen law enforcement agencies’ links with innovative technologies. In the following years, the initiative grew rapidly, reaching around 600 members from 32 countries today. With such rapid development, internal communication must be systematised and supported by the organisation of meetings, conferences, trainings, etc.

Creating templates, documents, and infographics, coordinating internal communication channels and ensuring everyone is well-informed are extremely important, but also time-consuming tasks.

That is why in 2020 PPHS took over the role of the ENLETS Secretariat and provides its assistance at every stage of work. Returning to the metaphor of the engine, which represents the partners and stakeholders cooperating and contributing with their expertise, the Polish Platform acts as an oil that is designed to reduce friction and increase the efficiency of the machine. The oil cannot significantly alter an engine’s output, but without it, the engine would not work at all.

Rashel Talukder, PPHS’s Managing Director, summarised the results of WP4 of the i-LEAD project, during the Athens Conference.

Dissemination

The developed solutions, in turn, require effective dissemination to the outside groups. Unfortunately, although today’s technologies have made it easier for us to connect, it is becoming increasingly difficult to reach recipients and catch their attention. The published information must also represent an appropriate level in terms of content and aesthetics.

Nobody expects experts to have the skills to present the results of their work attractively to a wide audience. This is also a task for the Secretariat’s communication team. The task here is not only to convey complex topics using simple and understandable language; we also need to identify the target groups and channels through which we will reach them.

Conventional thinking can easily fail here. In many cases, a well-thought-out message to a selected, narrow group of recipients will be much more efficient than routine content shown to a wide but random audience. In this respect, creativity and innovation are irreplaceable.

For example, in the case of ENLETS, the innovative work of the expert teams in the Technology Interest Groups (TIGs) is obviously crucial. It deserves a well-conducted external communication because it allows the TIGs to expand the range of users, as well as increase policymakers’ awareness of the challenges that practitioners and scientists have to deal with. It is an indispensable factor between research results and the actual tangible changes delivered.

Operational Centres TIG pilot. TIG members test innovative solutions before implementing them into standard police tools.

Council

A carefully chosen Secretariat is much more than just creating documents, videos, and organising meetings. Many years of experience working in different projects sometimes allows PPHS to offer advice. In practice, public funding is a very complex process. It is challenging to move in this environment with only an innovative idea and sincere intentions.

A Secretariat with numerous successful projects in its portfolio can help avoid the mishaps and complications that less experienced teams usually face.

From the perspective of the Secretariat, this scheme of cooperation is fascinating as it allows cooperating with many experts in important fields. It’s great to see how our experience can help the whole team achieve their goals, and we encourage the TIGs to continue and strive for results that impact and improve our security. Support in organising the workshops and conferences, such as Industry and Research Days, and the development of a comprehensive Communication Strategy to cement the project’s goals may not seem as ground-breaking as actively fighting against threats facing our society, but being the oil in such an engine can make one proud.

To finish, allow us to squeeze the value out of the engine allegory. ENLETS is only one cog in a larger machine, and sometimes this machine is not running as smoothly as it could. Many activities are running in parallel, often working towards common goals. The machine requires constant maintenance and care to ensure it runs efficiently and delivers the value required. PPHS is keen to support this team, and we are happy to contribute and help lubricate all parts and components.

Lukasz Kielban

Senior Communication Specialist
Polish Platform for Homeland Security

ul. Slowackiego 17/11, 60-822 Poznan, Poland
ul. Slowackiego 17/11
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SHIELD4CROWD has received funding from the European Union's Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101121171

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    Przemysław Dobrzyński

    Starszy Specjalista ds. Komunikacji

    I’ve worked at PPHS since November 2017. For a long time I was responsible for the both international and national security projects implementation. Due to the development of PPHS and founding of the Communication Department, I was promoted to the strictly communication-related position.

    Currently, I’m the Communication & Dissemination Manger in the EU-funded PREVENT PCP and SAFE-CITIES projects in the area of security. Also, my responsibilities include managing the online channels administrated by PPHS and supporting the team in ongoing tasks.

    I have a diverse set of skills, which allows me to complete various tasks, such us content creation (texts, photos, videos), communication & processes planning, community and relations building, as well as online platforms management.

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    Przemyslaw Dobrzynski

    Senior Communication Specialist at the Polish Platform for Homeland Security

    I’ve worked at PPHS since November 2017. For a long time I was responsible for the both international and national security projects implementation. Due to the development of PPHS and founding of the Communication Department, I was promoted to the strictly communication-related position.

    Currently, I’m the Communication & Dissemination Manger in the EU-funded PREVENT PCP and SAFE-CITIES projects in the area of security. Also, my responsibilities include managing the online channels administrated by PPHS and supporting the team in ongoing tasks.

    I have a diverse set of skills, which allows me to complete various tasks, such us content creation (texts, photos, videos), communication & processes planning, community and relations building, as well as online platforms management.

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