Overview: Demonstrations can take many forms. Some common forms of demonstrations include a “walk-through”, a simulation, watching a prototype in action, a tour of a similar situation, viewing a mock-up or model.

Considerations: When a traditional demonstration is not feasible, the communication events can use stories and hypothetical situations to “demonstrate” the future-state. What are some successful ways demonstrations have been conducted in the past? Who should be involved in giving the demonstration to others? Who is a good sponsor for the demonstrations? Why will some potential participants resist attending a demonstration? What obstacles can be expected and issues related to the demonstration? Who is a skilled facilitator that can help design the demonstration?

Practices:

  • State to the Farmers and Scientists “This task provides an overview to key groups, decreasing the risk of finding problems later, and it will also help in the design of future training needs.”
  • Avoid putting a low-priority on this activity. Many potential future issues can be mitigated through good demonstrations and feedback received.
  • Note that this is a “creative” task – this task is not simply to “tell” the participants what is coming, but it also serves to find creative ways that the impacted groups might embrace the changes. This should not be positioned as a training class.
  • Decide how the change will be socialized (demonstrations, samples, formal communication vs. informal communication, etc.).
  • Preface the demonstration with the limitations of what will be shown and not shown. Providing an overview first will help set the context for the demonstration.
  • Decide how success of acceptance will be measured (surveys, informal interviews, focus groups, etc.).
  • Monitor acceptance level through feedback.
  • If acceptance level is low, try another way to socialize change until acceptance is satisfactory. Follow-up demonstrations may be necessary after adjustments have been made.