Asking for new behavior from an audience that is disinterested in the message is always challenging.

For instance, asking staff to adopt a new technology or work process, or asking teams to adhere to new standards can be interpreted as bureaucratic waste or a distraction from the “real” work that has to happen.

There is often a educational or training component required for adopting new things. What’s the best way to approach that in an organizational context? The fact is that training time will pull teams away from their real work. The hope is that it’s worth it.

The effectiveness of corporate training products will lie in the strength of the content itself. That it would be interesting, useful, inspiring, human, helpful, surprising, etc.

This is in contrast to relying on the delivery method of that content to be interesting or novel enough to be immediately relevant and desirable. Creating a new interface or app or using some other slick or trendy technology will often be a distracting annoyance to the user, not a cool talking point.

This is not to say technology doesn’t matter. It does. But technology matters for its usefulness, not its inherent novelty. Technology must approach “invisible.”

Content delivery methods are smart when they approximate the normal everyday experiences people already have with technology. People expect fast, intuitive websites. People expect they can access content that looks great on their mobile devices.

What they don’t expect is that someone might care enough about them to produce content that they would want to engage with. And here is where leaders can exceed expectations: making content that matters to the staff. Figuring out what “matters” means is an empathetic art. But it is rarely a technology or interface.

“There is no delight without surprise.” Although surprise is a necessary condition for delight, it is an insufficient condition. Surprising “tech” is often burdensome. Surprising content is often generous…and delightful.

Sometimes the people asking for “big new ideas” can miss this distinction between content and delivery method because they want to invest in “innovation” as a buzz word instead of innovation as renewal. (Innovation is a Latin word drawn from the Greek word renewal.)

It’s always a challenging question: Do people care what you have to say? Or are you just trying to make something people think is cool?

When the purpose is to change the behavior in at-all reluctant parties, then pursuing the former question leads to the more important, more challenging, and more rewarding work… and better results.