Thursday 13 July 2017

Four quadrants of community activity

We can use a simple quadrant to remind ourselves of four areas of community knowledge activity.

This diagram came out of a conversation with a community of practice leader, who was wondering what to do with his portal. He had created a massive database of community documents, and had the company experts providing blogs, and was wondering what to do next. Should he put in a search engine, for example?

My suggestion was to look at the twin aspects of Personalisation (Connection of people) and Documentation (Collection of documents), and of Push and Pull (Supply of knowledge and demand of knowledge).

These two dimensions, each with two complementary aspects, define a Boston Square with four quadrants, as shown here.

Our community leader was addressing the Push side of knowledge transfer, but was neglecting the Pull. Certainly he realised he needed a search engine to allow Pull from teh documentation, but even more than that, he needed to address the behaviour of, and the support for, asking.

We agreed that his community portal should address the four quadrants in the diagram above, and should give equal weight to each (if you are to emphasise any one quadrant, make it the Top Right quadrant). So the portal should include

1) the ability for people to ask the community a question, plus the roles and behaviours that mean that this question is answered, and answered well and quickly;
2) the ability for SMEs and others to blog about new knowledge they have gained and which needs to be shared;
3) the ability for people to search for and find documents they need;
4) The ability for SMEs and others to publish documents which may be of use to others.

My advice to a community portal owner would be tackle all 4 of these quadrants, in the order shown above, from 1 through 4.

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