Wednesday, September 7, 2011
This is a comparison of two communities of practice.
In one of them, the content is 80% or more "knowledge push". Most of this content either comes from the administrator or from the manager, and it consists of thought pieces or of snippets of news or links to articles. Usage is low and only 3% of the target staff have contributed. This community is pretty dead, really.
In the second (a community of practice I subscribe to for research purposes, even though it's on a topic I don't work on) usage is high, contribution is high, and a check of the messages from the past month or two shows that 93% of the content is "knowledge pull." The content is from people in the business with a problem to solve or a question to answer or a need to fill. This is a very live and active community.
Why the difference?
The difference comes from the value proposition for being a community of practice member. Community membership needs to generate more value than it costs, and the value in community membership is the ability to use the community as a knowledge resource.
See the BT Stadium video below for an analogy for internation in a community. The person standing in the middle of the stadium is using the community as a resource, by asking questions and getting answers ("What's this called"? "What do you think of that"? "Does anyone want this?" "Does anybody feel like this?"). The community enables Knowledge Pull.
Now imagine that stadium video where the person is standing silent in the middle, getting bombarded by knowledge being thrown at them ("Look at this". "Read that". "Listen to me")
Which community would you rather belong to? Pull or Push?