Communities – the soul of our intranet

Our intranet is focused around the services we offer our clients. Each service has a community presence on the intranet – some thriving, some not – allowing document management, communications and aspects of collaboration.

Most of our musings on to intranet stakeholders focus about communities. We have a belief that people share knowledge to a far greater extent within communities – groups they know, understand, relate and engage with (rather than capture/management systems that failed in the late 90s), hence much of our work is about building online communities as the foundations of knowledge sharing.

My background was in psychology and organisational development so I use work such as McMillan & Chavis (1986) with a hint of psyco babble to form a strategy for community building.

We generally take the following 5 step approach when looking at building the community:

1 – Sponsorship. Ensure you have the right level of sponsorship that has the mussel and weight within the community and the organisation

2 – Governance. Ensure there is a strategy, process for escalation, management structure, workflow, risk assessment and a good business case before any build takes place

3 – Content. Look at the content available or required to be created

4 – Technology. Source the correct technology for the content requirements

5 – Training – provide publishers the tools and knowledge to sustain their community

6 – Adoption – once built and launched work with the community to ensure the sustainability of the site

Within these processes come tasks such as stakeholder collaboration, user surveys, design briefs, user testing etc. One of the benefits of building a virtual presence is that the aspects of sharing knowledge in the physical space becomes more realistic to users within the community.

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