Simon Terry

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What Kind of Community Do You Have?

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Enterprise Social Networks reflect the organisation’s culture and the maturity of collaboration in that organisation. As collaboration matures, different modes of engagement arise.  Higher levels of engagement aligned to the strategic objectives of the organisation are fundamental to the growing value of collaboration for any organisation.

Connect: The Directory

Many organisations don’t create much community in their networks. Networks or collaboration features imposed without thought or support will often languish. Without clear strategic rationale for collaboration in the organisation, their efforts create a new directory of employees (In many cases, a directory of only those who adopt). The collaboration features are used to create a social profile for individuals and to help people find others using the knowledge of those in the network.

Share: The Salon

When people are freely sharing ideas & their work, the level of engagement in the network rises. The community begins to resemble a salon. A salon can be an inspiring place filled with insightful knowledge and witty repartee. However, it can also be dominated by personalities, expertise and narrow schools of thought. Sharing knowledge is an important step on the journey of collaboration and a foundation for greater connection but posts with links is only an entry level for the human potential of social collaboration.

Solve: The Universal Genius Bar

When trust and engagement is high enough, people will see a community as a place to solve their work and personal challenges.  Like a Genius Bar, the community brings now just expertise and ideas, but solutions in the form of resources, processes and other ways to help drive change in the organisation. Well managed communities will be universal in their ability to reflecting the strategic intent of the organisation and the breadth of its people’s interests and purposes.

Innovate: The Platform

Successful cultures of innovation are those where people have a platform to which they can take ideas for development and trial. They also leverage the value of that platform as a way to track, understand and refine new ideas and those in development. When you have an innovation platform built on a rich level of engagement of all your employees, then the value and pace of change,  innovation and continuous improvement is accelerated.

Questions to consider:

  • Where does your organisation sit today in terms of the nature of the activity in your enterprise social network or other collaboration platforms?
  • What level of collaboration fits the culture of your organisation and its strategic goals?
  • What are the modes of collaboration that will help your organisation best achieve the value it seeks from bringing its employees together?
  • How have you authorised and enabled people to drive change and to collaborate in your community?
  • How can you move your organisations network from a Directory or a Salon into more valuable levels of engagement?
  • Do you have the leadership, community management and the change agents necessary to build trust, role model change and develop engagement?

The Value Maturity Model and its supporting tools are ways to help organisations plan and execute the development of strategic value in collaboration through enterprise social networks and other communities. For more information on the Value Maturity Model and how it can help you develop collaboration, please contact Simon Terry.


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