No I’m not talking about the 80’s Norwegian band. But the moment when members of a community start to believe that you do not need to be an expert to write a blog.
A number of facilitators of communities that I have spoken to would love to have more member’s blogging about the subject area. But when they speak to them, they are a little shy and do not believe they are expert enough to write a blog.
So this is a little idea that you could try out with them to show how easy it is.
There are a number of blogging styles that you will see when you start to read.
Event blogging is one of the easiest and if very common place. You even start to see some people rushing trying to be the first to post a blog after the event. (Maybe that’s just some of the events that I go to)
Event blogging is– sharing impressions, opinions and insights from and event of seminar with others who may or may not be able to attend
So what’s the simple way to do this? Well next time you are at an event with a number of your members of your community ask a few of them if they would like to fill in the A-ha moment. I came across this idea at one of the Henley KM Forum but never thought to use it in this way.
When you approach your member say that as a key member of the community we would love to capture your insights from the event so we can share with the wider community.
At the end of the event quickly take a photo of what they have written down. And now you have a range of insights that can be shared with your members of the community.
Hopefully, a simple example like this will show your members how easy it is. And maybe for the next event, you may even have some volunteers.
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 things that there are an abundance of material on is the creating of an online community or community of practice. But there’s not so much on how to really facilitate the activity in the community and help it thrive.
What techniques, what tactics can use you to help move your community forward?
For me the word Playbook goes back to the days of playing John Madden on my Sega Mega Drive.
And the three key elements
- Special Teams
Can you take those elements in to Community Management and create techniques to help your community?
If you did, what techniques or tactics would you use for the below?
Offensive plays would be all about breaking down the boundaries of the community and moving it forward. You will be looking to increase the number of discussions and participating members.
Improve the quality of the conversations and content, and encourage better relationships between the members.
Defensive plays – Most online communities are happy as they are. Help them hold onto that position of contentment, but they will still need a consistent flow of activities to keep them happy.
Special Teams – would be activities that have the ability to cause momentum shifts, increasing participation as well as building a stronger sense of community.
I had a meeting last week, well more of a get together of community facilitators from across my organisation. We had lots to talk about mainly around the migration of communities for the CoP platform to the up coming Knowledge Hub.
And all of this happening at the same time the public sector is going through huge restructures and potentially 500,00 job losses.
Everyone realised that many of the key communities, not just the ones led by us but many led by Local Authorities where at risk due to many reasons, such as programmes being cut, loss of key facilitators to the organisation or the core active members may no longer have jobs in the area work.
But even with all the upheaval, you can really see the passion of the facilitators.
And even if things change they still want to be part of the community and where possible pass the baton onto someone else.
For those communities that maybe nearing the end of it’s lifecycle we suggested four ideas of what could happen to them
- Close the community
- Close the community and leave a legacy
- Merge with another community
- Transfer the ownership of the community
For the ones that will be staying I hope they continue to be successful.
Talking of success. We have just started our second CoP of the Year award which went down really well last year.
Where we celebrate success in 3 categories
- Innovation and creativity – Demonstrating an innovative and creative use for a CoP or innovation and creativity within a CoP
- Efficiency through collaboration – A CoP that has led to specific time and cost savings for its members and their organisations (can include the host/facilitator’s organisation)
- Effective facilitation team – Demonstrates effective and successful management of a community of practice by a team of facilitators
Last year we even had an article written about it by Headstar
And just as a reminder to me about how important it has been to celebrate success and to see the passion that the facilitators have. I noticed this on the wall behind one of my colleagues.
|From Communities and Knowledge|
Before we started CoP of the Year we had an internal monthly ToP of the CoP award scheme where a small trophy would be passed around the organisation. We used to get phones call before the end of the month from facilitators wanting to know if they had won. And this led onto the CoP of the Year award.
But I do remember someone saying that Communities of Practice have a habit of surviving organisational restructures.
And on a last note talking about passion my colleague Charlotte is upping sticks and moving down under and after 3 or 4 attempts of interviewing her about being a Community Facilitator and failing due to all the arm waving
Charlotte summed it up by saying
As a facilitator of CoPs I’ve seen the power of nurturing a network. I’ve seen that it’s not about pumping out comms, but taking a step back. Helping the community connect with members and knowledge that they didn’t know were there.
As a member, the CoPs have enabled me to connect with a wider network of people online. Offline, being a member of the CoP has been a great way to break the ice particularly at events.
What else? I have learnt so much about the complex world of local government through the eyes, ears and discussions of other members. I have an understanding of what works and what doesn’t. I have learnt that successes can be big or small.
So if you’re in need of a great Community Facilitator there’s one going spare in a few weeks time in Australia