Build Your Community
3 | Organize
3 | Organize
As a founding team you will have several meetings and sessions with your key stakeholders: during those meetings you will see growing relationships, aspirations and involvement in the project. That’s why it is important to start articulating functions and roles of each one, from the very beginning.
You can start reviewing together the original stakeholders map you created with the founding team: show them the draft of the stakeholders’ map and the attributes with which you categorized them. Explain that you want to collect their feedback in order to improve it. Start asking the same questions you discussed with your team:
• What is already present in the community?
• What does the community need?
• What interconnections do you already see?
• Who is missing?
Mapping the gaps together with stakeholders helps shaping your community and creates a sense of shared responsibility, related to who they want to invite to be part of the project. In some cases, it may be important to have a very diversified community, in example a community composed by people from different backgrounds, for reaching a broad range of perspectives and areas of interest. This practical and simple activity will help you grow the group of people interested in being involved.
Once you all can clearly visualize the shape and composition of your community, it’s the moment each stakeholder and member of the founding team starts defining their place in the project. You can use the Entity Portrait tool to create a picture of the stakeholders’ needs and potential contribution to the project. This activity can be done individually and then discussed collaboratively. At this point, you will be able to portray the project team structure. You can follow this guide (page 20-21) to do it.
Manage and monitor the relations with your community.
Now that you have built a strong and conscious group composed by the founding team and core stakeholders, it’s time to bring in all the other components of the community you have imagined and shaped.
This is the first real interaction with the extended community you want to get involved in the whole project.
With your team, look at the stakeholders’ map and the target groups’ portraits you made. Once you have a clear and definitive idea of who you are going to get on board, you will need to create a call for active participation: in this moment, it’s of fundamental importance to communicate clearly your vision, what the project is about and, most of all, what you expect to do with the community you are going to involve. At this stage, communication has a key role in making sure everyone understands the purpose and spirit of the project. From now on, these people you contact will be part of your community: the more transparent and clearer you are now, the more possibilities you have to build a strong, supportive and passionate community around the project.
Read this co-creation guide in order to take care of every single aspect of this significant and articulated process.
Once you have all the community gathered together in the same place, start making all of them aware of who you are and why they are there. Introduce yourself, the core team and then ask the other people to do the same, to start building connections. Make sure that you have a good system to keep track of the people you have reached, in order to be able to keep in touch with them.
Once everyone has introduced themselves, show them the project Vision: it is of particular importance that they embrace this vision as they will be the first representatives and ambassadors of the idea. If they do not feel aligned with it or if they do not feel motivated or connected with the others, they will probably soon quit.
Explain to the community that this meeting is around a specific goal: it is a co-creation session for defining together a first design of aspects such as space, services and activities related to the project. It’s the moment to formalize the project final Value Proposition, shared and designed together with the very first community. You can use the Value Proposition canvas of the Systemic Design Toolkit to work on it.
Another goal, which is not stated but implicit, is to start the process of community building. Community building is “a precondition that cultivates seeds of collaboration and trust for connections and projects to emerge. Community building is about setting the right culture, welcoming the people to a collective with shared values while nurturing the right conditions for high quality connections among the members” (Impact Hub, 2012).
After meeting your Community, go back to your core team and analyze the general feedback and results of the co-creation session. Start from that information to define your final Value Proposition and review the initial Theory of Change.
The Value Proposition is the first building block for starting the process of defining your Business Model. There is a very practical and user-friendly tool, called Business Model Canvas, that can help you at this stage. This tool will guide you through the process of structuring each aspect of the project with a business-oriented approach.
You can start redacting with your team a first draft of Business Model, following these easy steps.
Project code: 2018-1-BE01-KA202-038599