Posts Tagged ‘Communities’

How I used a Knowledge Marketplace and Ideas factory to generate community activities.

May 29, 2014 Leave a comment

Idea FactoryI’ve used a Knowledge Management technique called a Marketplace to help at the start of building communities in the past.

Using two simple questions.

  • What they want from the community
  • What can they offer the community

This normally helps identify the topics of interest to the group and what they already know.  Allowing you to create some quick wins and match people and the knowledge up and share this to the wider community.  Giving the group a great kick-start.

So taking this idea to a more established community I combined the marketplace exercise with an Ideas factory tool.  (A tool that allows members to vote and comment on the idea)

At the end of 2013 I sat down and asked the members of the community what they would like to do for the next 12 months.  Using the Knowledge Marketplace technique originally in a forum I asked members what they could offer and what they wanted from the community.

This resulted in a considerable number of want and offers which we then took into a wiki and started to theme them.  This gave us 9 activities to work towards from the year.  And importantly members who would like to help out.

These 9 activities where added to the Ideas factory and members were asked to vote on the priority of these activities.

We have only completed 3 activities out of the 9 so far.  But each one of these has been led by members of the community.

Two webinars sharing their experience on a particular topic and the other the creation of an editable flyer that everyone can use.

I’m looking forward to seeing how the other 6 activities come together.


One of the keys to a successful online community

July 5, 2012 1 comment

After working for a number of years on the Communities of Practice platform we started to identify the key elements of a successful community.

These where:

  • Clear purpose
  • Creating a safe and trusted environment
  • Committed core group of active participants
  • Being motivated
  • Knowing the needs of participants
  • Having a clear action plan with activities to meet needs
  • Blending face-to-face and online activities

A lot of time and effort goes into the early stages of the group’s development but if those key elements above are not fulfilled the group will probably disappear very quickly.

This is where the facilitators of the group come in.  They work tirelessly to help the members of the group get what they need when they need it as well as identifying what they need next and helping for it to happen.

They are volunteers, it’s not something that they are paid to do and are probably learning the skills that are needed in this new way of working.

So after seeing a great posting by Richard Millington of Feverbee talking about how a community manager plans their week, I surveyed some of the facilitators across the Knowledge Hub to see where they spend time when they are facilitating the group.

I tried using an Infographic as something new and this shows how much time and what tasks professional community managers perform and compared it to the results from facilitators across the Knowledge Hub.

With some interesting results.

Content curation for your online group using Google alerts, Google reader, Scoop it and Blastacasta

May 11, 2012 Leave a comment

Have you been thinking about content curating for your online group or community?

So why should you currate content?  Well one of the roles that are mentioned in Dion Hinchcliffes jack of all trades is content management.











And content curation fits nicely into this area.

Having the facilitators flagging interesting content to the group is always a good thing, and there are a few simple things that you can use to make it easy for you.

After a while it could just be one or two clicks and a new piece of content could be available in your online group.

I’ll explain how you can do it.

Let’ start with the Google Alerts.  Go to Google Alerts and enter the keywords that are relevant to your group

Everyday you will now receive an email with a summary from across the web on your chosen topic.  You will start to see the same people talking about your subject or specific websites dedicated to the topic.





Next to Google Reader.  If you have started to see the same people and websites appearing in your Google Alerts why not subscribe to their RSS Feed.  Also Google will start to recommend blogs and websites to follow based on your feeds.

Really Google Alerts and Google Reader are the content collection stages.  Now you get onto the content curation.




I have been using a website called ScoopIt. Which is a content curation site which creates an online magazine of content that you believe is interesting.  But allows you to embed it into websites in a similar way as a YouTube video or to create a RSS feed which can be used with other sites to be embedded into a website.

But allows you to embed it into websites in a similar way as a YouTube video

Or to create a RSS feed which can be used with other sites to be embedded into a website.

And this is where Blastacasta comes in

You can add the RSS Feed into Blastacasta

And customise it in Blastacasta before taking the embed code to use in your group.

Please note to use the I frame version of the widget.

This is how it could look in your group

It sounds a lot more complicated to set up than it actually is.

Curating your content.

I also have a widget for Scoopit set up on my web browser toolbar, which is really helpful.  So I can see a piece of interesting content.  And within about 15 secs I can have it on my group.

This is how you I it.

Stage 1 – You find an interesting article, document or blog via Google alerts or Google reader.

Stage 2 – Select the Scoopit widget on your browser.

And this will open


90% of the time the title and content will be automatically filled in.

Stage 3 – Select Publish.

This will now appear in the group where you have added the widget from Scoopit or Blastacasta.

Why community facilitators need to be appreciated?

February 20, 2012 Leave a comment

This is a bit of a follow on from the Community Manager Appreciation Day #cmad

If you would like to find out a bit more check out the posts below

14 Days to go – Community Facilitator/Manager Appreciation Day

I just wanted to say a big thank you to all those great people out there that have the tireless task of being a community facilitator and try all different ways to turn a stranger in to a participant within an online community?

The role of the facilitator is tough, they have a multiply roles and sometimes called can be classed as Jack of all trades and if you had the chance to look inside the mind of a community facilitator that’s what it would look like.

With most communities the facilitator only has 21 days to hook a member and there a many ways you can cheat in building your community.  But sometimes in just a bit of fun that gets the party started as a facilitator.

You could lead a community by force, by making them make a post or else they will be sorry but is that really the way to do it, people are the life blood of the community mangers cannot create a community

Otherwise you could be back to square one and have to spend time trying to bring back one community member every day, and if the community and the people around the facilitator fail to appreciate what the facilitator does, the facilitator may leave and the community may come crashing down as in the case of Tom Hambarger

So who are these mad people that facilitate your communities?  And is it a game of Guess who?  Blaise Grimes – Viort’s survey with over 180 Community Managers across Spanish, German, British, French, American and other nations’ seemed to suggest that your star sign may have some influence over the role.  With Virgo and Libra topping the charts.

I have posed the question is it’s down to the year of your birth and your Chinese Zodiac sign.  I very much doubt it but it has got people talking and the key role of an online community facilitator is to get people talking.  This is where the introductions happen and the serendipity moments.

So is there any real point to this blog post.  Not really.  But I hope that you found some of it interesting and maybe had a bit of fun and now have some ideas of your own to try out with your community as you know them the best.

And as Derek Powazek says “Community Management is the process of making decisions with good intentions & then cleaning up after the explosion

The Importance of Community Facilitation

July 7, 2011 Leave a comment

The other week I was asked to do a presentation for the Government of Singapore Delegation around the facilitation of communities of practice.

This is my presentation.

The thing I wanted to emphasis was the Impotence of the facilitator in making the community tick.

There are lots of analogues such as the party host and jack of all trades.

And I also went on to say the sorts of activates that the facilitator do.  And what happens when the facilitators leave’s.

There are a few figures looking at the avoidable costs that communities can make.

I also mentioned the training we provide and what the KM team does behind the scenes of the CoP platform.

And finished off with one of the great images that have been drawn in the training sessions when it comes to describing what a community facilitator looks like.

Grab yourself an ICECREAM when it comes to online faciliation

May 11, 2011 Leave a comment

Strawberry Ice Cream ConeLinda Waddell and Susan Byrne can up with this great acronym to help when it comes to online facilitation

Online facilitation is still an area that receives very little attention.   And without active vibrant facilitation in a community the community will normally fail

So the “Ice cream” acronym is a really simple way to remind yourself of the key ingredient to active facilitation of an online community.

Icecream stands for

  • Interaction
  • Community
  • Engagement
  • Communication
  • Respect
  • Empathy
  • Attentiveness
  • Motivation

More details of the ICECREAM approach are available here

The Myths of being a Community System Administrator

March 30, 2011 Leave a comment

With most communities there are people behind the scenes monitoring the system and keeping it safe for everyone to use.

There’s a lot of work that goes into it, and there’s a team behind it with the Communities of Practice for Public Service.

But there are many myths when it comes to being a system administrator.

The Xbox Live Policy and Enforcement Team have a few great video’s dispelling the myths of the power of a system admin.

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