Community

I’m privileged to be working with some like minds at Nokia, Thomson Reuters and the London Business School and together we are exploring what community means in the workplace.

It’s a journey of discovery – and it feels like we’re creating a new language through which businesses and non-profits can understand and engage with communities.

This week we reflected on our role through a community’s lifecycle, from initiation, to discovery, to maturity and on to transformation.

For those of us privileged to host or facilitate communities, one of the key questions is ‘how can we help our community become transformational?’, and to answer that we need to understand what we mean by community, and how the notion of community relates to networks, organisations, projects etc.

We observed that crises can trigger a fight or flight reaction from community – they can galvanise community (ie mobilise intelligence and stimulate interaction) or they can suffocate community or cause it to disintegrate.

We debated the nature of the transaction that is at the heart of every community, and I wonder… is it true that a community is not actually a community UNLESS it transacts? In functional community, needs are expressed and met. There is trust, and good stewardship of resources. The needs may be emotional, spiritual, physical, informational and many more.

And we considered the barriers to community:  the hurdles associated with membership criteria; the desire to prove ROI; the ‘need’ to moderate; governance structures; lack of trust or safety…

There’s more to discover, and the implications for other communities we participate in (or live in) is exciting…

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