Communities have gone from niche to mainstream over the last 20 years. The number of available platforms has gone from just a handful to a large and confusing range. Every major organisation seems to be using multiple communities to help them listen to and learn from their users, customers, viewers, voters etc. However, too many communities seem to have fallen into a rut where they are simply being used as a cheap alternative for panels or pragmatic alternative to real qual. We believe that communities are essential tools for any organisation that wants to put human-centricity at the heart of their business. But we also believe that communities need to evolve to the next level if they are to deliver what is needed. In order to evolve communities to this next level, we are proposing a manifesto for communities.
Learning from Agile
One of the hottest trends in business at the moment is Agile – the shift from assuming that the world can be planned in advance to the realisation that most improvements are iterative. This process requires organisations to move from theory-based orientation to a more evolutionary model.
Although agile approaches have been around for decades, the real growth and emergence of agile can be traced back to the Manifesto for Agile Software Development, published in 2001. This manifesto created a focus on what needed to happen next, described how to bring the ideas of agile into unity, and set out the steps that led to today’s prevalence and utilisation of agile.
Communities have been used by organisations to talk to and co-create with their customers/users/viewers/citizens for about two decades, going from niche to mainstream in the process. The time is right to learn from the world of agile and set out a Manifesto for Communities. This is what I and my Potentiate colleagues have been working on and which we will be launching in February.
Principles for the Communities of the Future
A manifesto needs to set out principles that can then be applied by different providers and different users, to tackle different needs. A manifesto for change should not simply be a long list of specific rules, processes and prescriptions. Therefore, the Manifesto for Communities will set out 10 principles for the future of communities. These principles will include things like human-centricity, creating communities of interest, utilising longitudinal approaches, and establishing the ROI of insights.
Putting the Manifesto to Work
As well as publishing the Manifesto in February (and launching it in French and German in March), we will be illustrating how the principles are being applied. We will be publishing a series of ‘how to’ articles and case studies over the next few months, which will link theory with practice and show outcomes.
We will also invite others to publish their articles and case studies, showing how the principles in the Manifesto for Communities are being applied.
Want a Front Seat when we Launch the Manifesto for Communities?
We will be launching the Manifesto for Communities on 24 February in a series of three webinars, timed for Asia Pacific, Europe and North America. Everybody who registers for the webinar will receive a copy of the Manifesto and you will be able to download the slides and access the recording afterwards. Click here to register for the webinar.