Geneva’s international community is a big network filled with various organizations, of different sizes, working on issues from environment, technology, social justice, to humanitarian relief. With so many actors trying to work together, it’s a no-brainer that there are tons of meetings and networking opportunities to collaborate and cooperate. While some people might think meetings might be a waste of time, the fact that there are so many cultural differences, languages, and perspectives at play, it’s a necessity to come together to share ideas, resources, and, in general, find a way to work together… and this particularly goes for the communication industry.
Working in communications and in such an international place like Geneva, it’s pretty common to come across networking opportunities and groups focused on various aspects of communications. There’s the main UN Communications Group managed and run by the UN Information Service that looks at ‘big-picture’ stuff that the UN as a family is working on. As part of this group, there’s a more focused group on social media (managed by avid tweep Gisella) that share resources and discusses the latest news and updates from this online channel.
— Gisella Lomax (@GisellaLomax) October 15, 2014
Outside the UN is the broader Geneva Communicators Network which includes a growing list of communication professionals in and around Geneva. In addition to website which hosts all the latest news and info from the network, the group is also on LinkedIn and has an active community of over 2000 members. They also post jobs on their website and regularly organize interesting lunchtime events on the latest thinking in strategy, public relations, media, etc. For example, the last event I went to was understanding the communication challenges of urban planning. The presenter Vincent Lusser said communications was a key part of making sure people are aware of and can contribute to the discussion on changes to Geneva’s urban plan.
There’s also a technical group, set up and run entirely by volunteers and people passionate about online communications, called the “Geneva Web Group”. While the group is also on LinkedIn, I find the internal Google Group much more active and interesting where jobs are posted, ideas are discussed, and plenty of opportunity to get answers to any web-related question. Even though the group is for Geneva, many of the members are from around the world with various backgrounds on not only web issues, but also information architecture, content management, and design.
In a previous post I wrote about how communication professionals don’t consider design in their plans until the last minute, yet design is essential in any kind of communication. So it was great to hear that the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) took the initiative to set up a group for designers working in international organizations in Geneva. Organized by a designer named Jesus (yes, seriously!), the first meeting took place in October at ITU’s headquarters over an informal lunch that included creative people from UNICEF, SICPA, OCHA, and WHO. While there wasn’t much of an agenda for the first meeting, the networking opportunity allowed us to talk about key challenges and issues that every organization faced. This included:
- The politics at play when trying to establish and implement a corporate identity
- How organizations can empower designers to ensure that corporate guidelines and styles are followed via internal communication, training, and building relationships with staff
- Designers play an important role in communications as they understand the content and tools to produce communication and find the channels to deliver them
- Designers don’t only design but also are in charge with maintaining the visual brand of an organization.
It’s pretty special to have all this happening in Geneva where these networks are accessible and welcoming to anyone interested in different aspects of communication. If I missed any networks or groups, let me know by leaving a comment below.