Translating Technology

In doing research for his recent book, Jay Conger identified one particular set of talents that resonated with me, that of “technology translation”.  It’s the ability to absorb large amounts of data, discern its essence, understand different perspectives and stakeholders, and come up with a simple, strong message that’s tailored properly to the intended audience.


Jay’s example centered around software companies and their customers – namely, that there might be some feature changes that would impact enterprise customers.  A technology translator would bee able to understand those changes, and find the most salient points and build explanations for different audiences:  the software company CEO, the board, the marketing heads, and so on.


I’ve found these skills especially useful in our line of work too.  Technology can mean many things to many people, and how I’d explain something to a firm’s partner could be pretty different than how I’d explain it to a first-year graduate.  Design-minded folks will respond differently than technically-minded ones, Construction Admin experts will have different needs than interior designers and urban planners.  Engineers will find yet a different set of priorities to focus on.  You get the picture.


How have you been able to use these techniques to your advantage?  Have there been times when you’ve found the messages more convergent?  And some that are less convergent?  Have you found some principles to be ‘universal’, or do they always depend on the audience? I’d love to hear your thoughts, hopefully at DTS this summer.  Please apply to join the conversation!


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