Step 1: Problem definition or solution proposal


I have an agri-environmental problem I want to solve or I have already a solution for an agri-environmental problem that I want to put into praxis by applying a bottom-up approach
→ And what now?

Find a start: A preliminary first definition of the problem or the solution should be formulated.


  • What is the (environmental) problem I want to address?
  • For which aspect of this problem do I have an idea or a possible solution?

If you haven’t already read the introductions to bottom-up and top-down project structures and communication problems we suggest you follow these links and do so now, this will give you a basic understanding on the driving forces behind communication problems.  


Define the project aims; Making sure you are Understood

Project aims need to be clearly defined.

Your project may include stakeholders from different professions like farmers, farmer’s advisors, scientists, local politicians and policy makers.

If everyone understands your project aims then:

  • there are fewer damaging misunderstandings
  • there is a strong foundation to build professional relationships
  • it is easier to allocate each stakeholder their project role
  • collaboration within the project will be easier

Think about what language to use.

COMMUNICATION CHALLENGE – Language barriers between different professions

Every profession has its own working language.

This means each of your project stakeholders:

  • use different terminology and jargon
  • use different basic words
  • have different styles and ways of communicating

It is no wonder everyone has trouble understanding each other.

Common example: farmers find information from different sources than scientists, and describe problems in different ways.

Different stakeholder groups also have different priorities, based on their jobs.

Common example: farmers need practical new technology, which is ready for implementation on the farm. But scientists produce theoretical new ideas and designs for technology with practical testing on a much smaller scale, under controlled conditions.

Different stakeholder groups also have different kinds of knowledge.

More information on: Language barriers, the challenges they pose, and real project examples.

COMMUNICATION SOLUTIONS – Eliminate Language Barriers

Be aware of these language barriers, this is the first step to eliminating them.

Here are some ways to combat language barriers:

  • Two-way communication – By making sure communication always allows for the participation of both or all parties, important feedback and valuable opinions will be heard, all perspectives should be valued. Two-way communication

  • Target-audience based communication – Keep in mind who you are talking to, and adjust the way you convey your message accordingly. Different stakeholder groups have different interests and field of expertise. A message should be simple and concise when aimed at individuals who don’t share your background. Target-audience based communication

  • Bridging Role Gaps – Having an individual or organisation with a diverse background who works as a communicator and translator can bridge the gaps between different stakeholder groups, making communication smoother. Bridging Role Gaps

  • Education – Raise your own awareness, find out more about how other stakeholder groups work, and what their work entails. Knowing what is required of an individual within their job will help you decide what information would be most relevant to them, and those areas in which they may need a more basic explanation. Education