At the heart of the Social Age lies community: formal or social, large or small, purposeful or just companionable. It’s the ‘sense making‘ and amplification functions of community that power Social Learning and Social Leadership and let us perform better. But what if your organisational communities are struggling? What if they’ve never taken off? What if they are dominated by formal junk messaging from Corporate Comms or the activities of a few vibrantly addicted geeks? Never fear: i’m developing a diagnostic, a framework to explore the vitality of your communities and do something about it! Here it is in it’s first draft as i #WorkOutLoud: the CEDA model of Community Health.
At it’s heart are four elements: ‘curation‘, ‘engagement‘, ‘debate‘ and ‘application‘. These are the four aspects of community that we are going to look at as we work out how healthy it is and what we can do about it. Attached to each, within the arrow, is a confounding or contributing factor: for ‘curation‘ it’s ‘technology‘, for ‘engagement‘ it’s ‘permission‘, for ‘debate‘ it’s ‘trust‘, and for ‘application‘ it’s ‘narrative‘.
Curation is the activity where people bring new information into a community: they seek it out and interpret it to be both timely and relevant. But to curate effectively, we need social collaborative technology. Whilst i often say that social learning is not about technology (but rather is facilitated by it), it’s also true that poor technology, poor experience or poor workflow can kill Social Learning stone dead. Essentially, what you’re looking for is ‘as easy as Facebook‘. Or easier.
Engagement is how many people are actively taking part: registered, contributing, curating and sharing. Engagement is often a function of permission: the space does not create the permission: understanding how the organisation will react is what creates permission.
Debate is the ‘sense making‘ function of community in action: the too and fro of a healthy conversation: if you lack debate, it may be because there is an absence of trust, or, worse, misplaced trust. We have to understand that trust between organisation and individual is different from trust between individual and individual. Organisational trust is about consistency and predictability of response over time.
Application is about how performance is improved through applying the learning: the way we see this is through stories shared, stories of application and learning. In a healthy community, we need space for individual stories of success.
I’ll share more about each of these areas as i develop the model further, alongside some ideas for how we can drive improvement. That’s the joy of #WorkingOutLoud in the Social Age: we share as we create, in healthy communities, because the conversation strengthens the learning.