Audience for this presentation• Individuals and organizations who are taking on community building work full-time and professionally • They’re passionate about their community and transforming their systems • They want to be innovative • They feel alone in taking on the work, not sure where to start with it, and don’t have a full explanation for why their traditional role and practices aren’t working • They mostly just know they need to do something different and these ideas generally resonate with them
Objectives for this presentation• Give these individuals and organizations: • A mental model for understanding the situation they’re in, what professional community building is and how it helps, and how to get started • A check list for getting started with professional community building • Examples from other professional community builders and sources of inspiration
PROFESSIONALCOMMUNITY BUILDING 101Strategically and authentically building innovative communities to transform society’s most wicked social problems.
WHAT’S THIS REALLY ABOUT?Helping you meaningfully re-engage with your community and fuel your members to work together to tackle their most entrenched social challenges.
THAT’S A LOT OF ASSUMPTIONS What do you really need help with?• Do you need to re-engage with your • Have your engagement strategies fallen ﬂat or community in a different way? Is your not created the meaningful results you participation dropping? Do you see the same hoped? people at all your meetings and activities? • Is your community struggling with entrenched• Do you have a personal relationship with the or wicked social problems? Issues that a drivers of your community’s future? Do you tweak here or there won’t ﬁx? know what they need to make their efforts • Is your community disconnected from itself really go? Would your community beneﬁt from• Has your community changed? Are there members working together more? new people playing that you don’t know and • Do your community members need who haven’t sought you out? resources, inspiration and opportunities to work together more?
WHY How we got in this mess, andwhy community building will help us get out of it.
WICKED PROBLEMS• Actors are disconnected• Thenuanced conversations that will unearth solutions aren’t happening• Ourcash-credit-control operation isn’t helping, and it is often making things worse
WHERE THEY CAME FROM We’re living through a moment of great transition:• The industrial society • The innovation society
WHERE THEY CAME FROM Societal shifts in multiple directions: 2-WAY MINDLESS UNI-MINDED MULTI-MINDED SHIFT OF SYSTEM SYSTEM SYSTEM PARADIGM NATURE OF ORGANIZATION ANALYTICAL APPROACH INDEPENDENT VARIABLES SYSTEMS APPROACH INTERDEPENDENT VARIABLES
WHERE THEY CAME FROM Historically...• Youwere at the top and • To solve problems and center of it all: provide value for your community you: UNI-MINDED ANALYTICAL APPROACH SYSTEM INDEPENDENT VARIABLES
WHERE THEY CAME FROM Now...• You are one of many • Tosolve problems and players: provide value for your community you must: MULTI-MINDED SYSTEM SYSTEMS APPROACH INTERDEPENDENT VARIABLES
WHAT THIS MEANS We’re all experiencing it...• Disconnection• Disruption (or major need for it)• Resource gaps• Cultural shifts
WHAT THIS MEANS More than ever before...• We must engage and partner with more people in our community, and connect with them (and them with each other) on a more personal, authentic and meaningful level than most of us have ever considered or event thought possible.
THE GOOD NEWS Your mission is still deeply important.• The community still needs you and wants you to achieve your ultimate objectives• Everything you and the community need for this transformation to the new, is already present. It just has to be found, fostered and unlocked.
THE HARD NEWS You can’t achieve your mission on your own.• No matter how effective or • You cannot achieve your strong your work or mission without working organization is, your mission closely with many many is bigger than you. other people in the community. You must be• Youalone do not own your adding new people to the mission. It belongs to the conversation all the time. community.
THE HARDER NEWSYour organization and work is structured for the old game, and the new game has already started.• This means a complete redesign of your organization, skills and approach will have to happen at the deepest levels of operation.
EXCITING NEWS In many ways, we’re returning to our roots, but with better tools, resources and practices that could allow us to achieve our missions in a bigger way than we ever have before.• More humane objectives • Faster ways of spreading and practices information and staying connected• More people to play, attend, lead and participate• Cheaperand easier tools to do the work
THE BEST NEWSYou are perfectly positioned to leverage these opportunities and tools to make a great impact for your community, IF you’re willing to redesign your entire approach.• You have resources, networks
THE ‘NEW’ APPROACH Community Building• Working strategically to foster the culture, create the opportunities, and build the resources that will help your community members connect with each other, have better conversations and take action on their common needs and opportunities.
gP ro in G o WHATWhat professional community builders do.
COMMUNITY BUILDING ACTIVITIES• Aim to build relationships • Listenmost to the needs of with all players the innovators• Convene conversations and • Produce resources where facilitate connections needed• Highlight what’s working and • Support capacity building where help is needed and density of actors and activities
IDEAL COMMUNITY BUILDER• Deeply passionate about the • Transparent in their community dealings, objectives and• Forward perspectives looking with a 20+ year outlook • Willingto lead and• Welcoming, inclusive relinquish control when and needed collaborative • Interested in nuanced• Thinks in systems, design + conversation and explaining effective communication context and emerging
DO YOU KNOW PEOPLE LIKE THIS?• Deeply passionate about the • Transparent in their community dealings, objectives and perspectives• Forward looking with a 20+ year outlook • Willingto lead and relinquish control when• Welcoming and inclusive needed• Thinks in systems, design • Ableto convene and engage in nuanced conversation
INDICATORS OF SUCCESS• More people reading, • New community building attending and participating teams popping up on their community activities own• More people taking • Reports of innovation being ownership and initiative by easier to accomplish within producing their own events, the community projects, programs and gathering spaces • Increase in the vibrancy of the community
a r te dGe t t i ng St t s Che ck li1. 2. HOW 3. A process for getting started as a professional community builder with examples from the ﬁeld.
ed g St a rt G e t t i n k lis t Che c 1. 2. 3. STEP 1:• Identify the community you want to build and describe ‘your why.’• You will be asked for ‘your why’ often, and you will be judged and trusted based on how deeply personal and truly passionate it is.
ed g St a rt G e t t i n k lis t Che c 1. 2. 3. STEP 2:• Startmeeting with others in your community to understand their perspective, current work, where they need help and their ultimate mission.• Really listen, and follow up the meeting with an introduction, invitation, collaboration or encouraging word.
ed g St a rt G e t t i n k lis t Che c 1. 2. 3. STEP 3:• Create a public informational home for your community:• Articulate the transformation your community is working through• Map the issues, needs, resources and players in that transformation• Highlightthe innovators of the community - those who will are already transforming the way the community works
ed g St a rt G e t t i n k lis t Che c 1. 2. 3. STEP 4:• Listento the needs of the innovators. What do they need to take their projects to the next level?• Help them on an individual basis as much as you can.• Where you see common hurdles, facilitate the creation of resources, connections or better conversations to overcome them.
THROUGH IT ALL• Keep a 20 year perspective• Look for ways to meaningfully engage everyone and be as inclusive as possible• Modelthe values of invitation, introduction, collaboration, mentorship, risk taking and cheerleading• Mediate conﬂicts large and small with the aim of dissolving them• Bepatient and gentle with yourself and others - this work is very hard and can sometimes move at glacial speeds
NEW ADDED VALUE• More people• More resources• More vibrancy• More opportunities•A whole lot more fun
CLOSING THOUGHTS• Community building isn’t new or radical• It’s the next generation of our traditional practices• It’s our logical next step given the needs of our community members, the possibility of our collective and the tools and resources within our reach