I was trying to think of concrete steps to take to increase collaboration and it seems like creating or joining a community of practice is one of the best ways.
I love this @JohnRichardsII. In both my personal & professional experience, I could not agree more.
Here are my thoughts on it!
When we talk about building healthier communities, we are essentially talking about creating a safe space for people to come together [collaboration] to work on what matters most to them [shared passion or interest].
Finding a community of interest is only half the battle though! A lot of communities tend to have what we call “silent contributors.” These people pop into the community from to time, but rarely [if ever] contribute. Why? Honestly, it could be for a variety of reasons. Maybe they are still “feeling” the community out to make sure it’s a good fit for them. Maybe they don’t feel like they have a safe space to speak up? Maybe they aren’t sure where or how to lend their expertise? Maybe the community is not what they thought it was [didn’t find any value or relevant topics/conversations to contribute to]? Or maybe they have lended their expertise previously, but felt dismissed or undervalued. This is where understanding your community & the members who are part of it really come into play. It’s really all about providing a safe space [built on trust] for those people to come together and contribute their expertise for the benefit of a shared objective or mission and making sure they feel valued for their contributions. It can be quite comforting knowing that your online community isn’t going anywhere and that the connections you made online are always there for you, whenever you need them —either personally or professionally.
To that point, you are correct—you can’t have a thriving community without collaboration. A community is only as strong as the people who are in it!
In terms of measurement, there a lot of different ways to measure community success [some quantitative others qualitative]. One that comes to mind are community partnerships. What partnerships have you built within the community? Who are the key partners to the program and what qualities of the partnerships make them successful? How did that partnership contribute to your overall success? etc.
I LOVE community! I am happy to chat about it whenever & wherever