A former colleague recently asked me about online communities at work, their value in supporting strategic activities and how to make the most of them. Kirsten Wagenaar and I discussed this and I decided to write a blog as a summary of that discussion.
The community of practice (CoP) is perhaps the most common type of (online) community. In a CoP colleagues come together to share best practices with each other. Medieval guilds, professional associations and in some instances, school classes are examples of communities of practice.
I recently joined Bind as a Community Management Consultant, but what does that mean? What is Community Management?
If communities are people who share a common focus, then Community Management is the proactive design, development, activation and ongoing cultivation of the community. It’s a professional approach, backed up by relevant data, to connect people around a common goal. It’s about building bridges and creating value.
During any kind of organizational change there will be a temptation to tackle the process with new procedures and technology. Which makes sense, since these are concrete and quantifiable elements. Attempts at sustainable change of this sort will however always fail. This is because people are the defining factor. And to win over people’s heads and hearts, these people will have to be your starting point.
No two communities are the same, but there are still a number of standard ingredients which are essential for any type of community to become a success. One of these is for instance the presence of a community manager. This article will tell you which other elements are needed.