This week, we’re taking a look at the growth of the community manager role and how organizations can build structures to facilitate community-building even in the absence of a dedicated manager. We have some strategies we’ve developed to help build these structures that we link to below. Be sure to also check out our next Oblique Thinking Hour–details at the end of this newsletter!
👀 Something that caught our eye
Who can help to shape the assembly and disassembly of hierarchies in organizations, other than top leadership? We’ve been fascinated by the growth of “community manager” roles in scientific communities. In some ways, the name “community manager” places an implicit hierarchy into the natural assemblage that is a community. In other ways, what was often joked as being “cat herding” now has a community of practice in which they can share the latest and greatest “cat herding” practices. We think of the work of community as less that of “managing” and more that of “catalyzing” and making space for a community to flourish.
This work takes scaffolding, equitable participation, codes of conduct, mission / vision, strategic direction, and leadership. This work, when done hastily, without considering the voice of the community, often backfires. What if you take a different approach–not to control or direct the community, but to make space for voices, identify shared values, and build on-ramps and engagement pathways that emerge from the voices of the community itself? In some ways the most vibrant communities don’t even need a community manager; they need systems and practices in-place that allow for the community to lead itself.
Our close connections to these groups–and our participation in the communities they manage–give us a deep appreciation for the problems they face, an understanding of the skills needed to address them, and an eye for strategies that apply across diverse communities. One community we participate in actively, the Center for Scientific Collaboration and Community Engagement (CSCCE) has led the charge in training cohorts of community managers in these domains.
What have you tried, what’s working, what isn’t working?
What systems and practices in communities you participate in have you seen that just-work?
What systems and practices have you seen fall apart or fail in organizations you work within and across?
Hit reply and let us know.
We’re increasingly confident that our suite of techniques can help initiate this catalysis, working with your organization to carefully build systems and practices that enable community members to flourish.
June 7/8th 2023 - Future of Work Scenario Generation
Using the future thinking card deck we co-created in May, we'll talk about the future of work, and break out into small groups to explore future scenarios together. Come share what you think work will be like in 10 years time. Think back to 2013, how did you think the world might be different in 2023? We'll be exercising our episodic future thinking muscles and collaboratively imagining what we want to see and what we want to avoid. It is not necessary to have attended the May event for you to come to this event.
Two times are available - Click here to see in your TZ
- June 7th, 9:00 PM GMT / June 8, 2023 at 8:00 AM NZST REGISTER HERE
- June 8, 2023 at 8:00 AM GMT / June 8th, at 8:00 PM NZST REGISTER HERE
If you're interested in a conversation about how our approaches could work for you and your organization, grab a time to connect with us for a free 30-minute consultation.