Hologram Technology and Internal Corporate Communications: A Hypothetical Case Study

Hologram Technology and Internal Communications: A Hypothetical Case Study

The first eight parts of this series introduced Clayton Christensen’s concept of “the innovator’s dilemma” and applied the cautions and lessons to the internal communications profession. Christensen followed a similar outline in The Innovator’s Dilemma and concluded his theorizing with a hypothetical case for building electric cars, which was forward-thinking back in 1997.

How Can We Know If a Communications Technology Is Disruptive?

  • This last question is especially important because, as I discussed in part 2: Today vs. Tomorrow, employees eventually expect their consumer experiences to be adapted by their workplace. Think what YouTube did to video communications, or what the iPhone did to employee apps.

Holograms and Big Tech

Facebook is deep into developing virtual and augmented reality, the former of which is experienced through their Oculus headset. Virtual reality, however, does not allow for holography because it immerses you in a 360-degree environment experienced through goggles that hide the outside world from view. Holograms are visual components of augmented reality, where real-world experiences are enhanced by computer-generated perceptual information.

Holograms in Entertainment

Meanwhile on the entertainment front, on September 22 this year Fox TV will premiere a singing competition called Alter Ego, which is described as “a first-of-its-kind avatar singing competition series and the next iteration of the musical competition show.” The producers use “motion capture technology and CGI to allow mysterious singers to present themselves as an entirely unique avatar.” That is, judges and the audience will be entertained by holographic projections on stage.

Holograms at the Office

Holograms are inching their way into our non-work lives, but what about at the office? There are two companies that specialize in creating meeting experiences using holography.

  • Read my interview with ARHT on how their technology is being used for internal communications.

Who Is the Audience for Holographic Internal Communications?

So holograms have the potential to be a disruptive communications technology. The challenge now is to find a legitimate use case for internal communications.

Potential Audiences: Some Speculation

Which employees would be the right group for holographic communications?

What Should Be the Experimental Strategy?

We’re faced with the classic chicken-and-egg problem: Without an audience, there is no obvious or reliable source of employee feedback; without a communications technology or channel that addresses employees’ needs, there is no audience. How do we move forward?

Creating the Space for Disruptive and Innovative Internal Communications

So far I have:

  • Identified holograms as a potentially disruptive internal comms technology
  • Set realistic expectations for finding use cases with employees
  • Established parameters for experimenting with holograms

I need to establish a separate and independent internal comms team.

As we saw in part 3: A Lack of Resources, implementing disruptive and innovative internal comms technology is at the mercy of those who manage the budget.

  • The independent team could be used as an incentive for internal comms team members who want a break from the daily grind.
  • Membership on the team could be done on a rotational basis once experiments have run their course.
  • The team can be made up of new hires external to the internal comms team.

Conclusion: Incubating Innovation

Using holograms in internal comms is a disruptive innovation that involves rethinking significant systems and relationships across the company. Security, IT, Operations, Communications, and other stakeholder groups will be affected. Because of the intense cross-functional and cross-departmental nature of the experiment, it is imperative that the innovation internal comms team be independent of the regular Comms function. While such organization does not guarantee success, it at least allows the team to work in an environment that encourages — rather than impedes — disruptive innovation.

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Mister Editorial

Mister Editorial

Many internal comms teams don’t have an editorial strategy. I’m here to fix that. Newsletter: https://mistereditorial.substack.com/.