One of the challenges in any effective awareness program is how to communicate to your audience.    There are some major challenges here to consider here.  Two of the most common I run into is creating something that employees want to watch, and at the same time creating something that works regardless of nationality or culture.

1.  Entertaining: We need a message that keeps people's attention.  If they are bored or turned off from the medium, then they will not pay attention.  Kind of hard for people to learn when they are not even listening to what you are saying.  This is especially challenging with the new Web 2.0 or YouTube generation.  They are used to fast and furious information in small sound bytes.

2. Nationality/Culture: We need a message that works for diverse nationalities and cultures. This is especially challenging for large organizations that span the globe. People listen and learn better when they feel the training is designed for their cultural norms.  Employees in Europe don't want to see American centric training showing American people in American offices. People in the middle-east have a different definition of what is acceptable and a cultural norm then what people do in Nordic countries. And don't even get me started on trying to use humor. One solution is to create awareness content that is specific to different cultures, but this does not scale. Not only do you have to create many different awareness solutions, but it becomes a nightmare to update.

My inspiration and solution?  Tron.  Yes, the Disney film from 1982 (yes dear reader, some of us are truly that old to remember seeing this in the theatre).  This movie is perfect in so many ways.  First, the film is based on taking place in cyber space, within a computer.  What better environment then that for security awareness.  Second, the fact that everything takes place in cyber space create sa national or cultural neutrality. You can't tell what country, religion, or nationality someone is in a computer generated envionrnment.  By using such cyber imagery, you create a single set of resources that work for almost anyone, greatly reducing cost while increasing effectiveness.

Every time I watch this movie I'm amazed at how creative the film makers were, especially considering how limited computer processing was in 1982.  Even more astonishing, the academy awards in 1982 refused to consider Tron for best movie in special effects because they 'cheated' in using computers.  That is what you get for being cutting edge.

On a side note, almost 30 years later  Tron 2 comes out the end of this year.  More inspiration!