community engagement

This tag is associated with 3 posts

Are you an expert in building communities? Prove it.


Over the past few months, I’ve started moonlighting as a contributor on the Management Innovation Exchange (MIX), which we’ve featured regularly on opensource.com. My posts on the MIX focus on how to enable communities of passion in and around organizations.

A few months ago, the MIX announced a new contest, the Human Capital M-Prize, which is looking for the best ideas on how to unleash passion in our organizations.

Since this particular challenge is right in my stomping ground on the MIX, and because many people who regularly read and contribute to opensource.com probably know better how to enable communities of passion than almost anyone else in the world, I thought I should highlight the contest in the hopes that some of you might enter.

Details? From the MIX website:

The MIX and HCI are looking for the boldest thinking, most powerfully-developed vision, and the most cleverly-designed experiments for unleashing passion in our organizations. What is your bold new idea or radical solution to the lack of engagement and passion in our workforce? What game-changing story or hack can transform employees everywhere into more engaged, motivated and productive contributors?

If you have a story or hack you think might fit, go here to learn more or enter the contest.

The deadline for entries is January 20th—only about two weeks away.

The grand prize winner will get a chance to present their story or hack to a global audience at the HCI Human Capital Summit in Atlanta in March, and there are other interesting prizes as well. So if this sounds compelling to you, get on over to the MIX and submit your entry.

Make our community of passion at opensource.com proud and let’s show these future-of-management-types that we open source folks know a thing or two about building community.

Evaluating TEDx as a brand strategy


A big part of my day job is to help organizations with their brand positioning and strategy.

So when I read the article in the New York Times this past Sunday about TEDx, the relatively new (and incredibly popular) offshoot of the legendary TED conference, I thought it might be a good opportunity to take a closer look. The issue?

Clearly TEDx has been a smart community-building strategy, but will it ultimately prove to be a smart brand strategy as well?

Let me take a few steps back. If you are not familiar with TED (seriously? have you been camping in Siberia?) you can learn more here.

The main TED conference is a place where smart people (with big $$ and a personal invite) go once a year to hear other smart people give short talks showcasing how smart they are. The rest of us poor, unconnected folks wait patiently for the nice TED people to release the TED talks one by one, teasing us like a painfully-slowly dripping faucet teases a man dying of thirst.

And that’s the way it worked. Until last year when, in June, TED announced a new program called TEDx that would allow anyone to organize their own TED conference anywhere in the world.

The New York Times article tells the story of what has happened with the TEDx program in a little over a year:

…there were 278 events last year in places as near as New Jersey and Florida, and as far as Estonia and China. There was TEDxKibera, held in one of Africa’s largest shantytowns in Nairobi, Kenya. And there was TEDxNASA, which had space-themed lectures.

Already this year there have been 531 TEDx events. Another nearly 750 are to take place this year and beyond.

Wow. Now that is community-driven innovation on a grand scale. From one event per year with a small number of people attending at a very high cost to almost two TED events per day, held around the world, and almost every event is free. All that in a little over a year.

I’d call that a smashing strategic success. A soon-to-be-classic community engagement story.

But if we look at the decision to create TEDx from a traditional brand or intellectual property point of view, would it also be viewed as a good strategy?

[Read the rest of this post on opensource.com]

How to find a community’s cheeseheads when they aren’t wearing foam hats


The other day I was chatting with friend and digital strategy/social media expert Ken Burbary on the phone. He was advising a colleague on some good community-building techniques to consider when all of the sudden the following words came out:

“You have to find your cheeseheads.”

What? I did a double-take (or at least the conference call equivalent) and asked him to repeat himself.

I had heard him correctly.

Ken lives in Michigan. Michigan is not far from Wisconsin. Wisconsin is where a lot of cheese is made. Wisconsin also has an (American) football team called the Green Bay Packers.

The biggest fans of the Green Bay Packers wear wedges of cheese made out of foam on their heads to show their support for the team. When someone will wear a big wedge of cheese on their head to show support for their team, that means they are a pretty big fan.

So Ken was saying that good community catalysts seek out and empower the biggest community supporters and advocates—the cheeseheads.

I found a fantastic blog post, written last fall by a colleague of Ken’s named Rachel Happe, entitled Cheeseheads. The post, which appears on The Community Roundtable website, explains in more detail the concept of how to engage your community’s cheeseheads. I won’t repeat Rachel’s advice here, but instead want to ask a follow-on question:

Sitting at a football game at Lambeau Field, it’s pretty easy to spot most of the biggest fans. They have foam cheese on their heads.

But what you do when a community isn’t the foam-hat-wearing kind? How do you find and empower the people who are the community’s energy source? Here are a few thoughts from me on how to find the biggest community advocates when they aren’t in plain view.

[Read the rest of this post on opensource.com]

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