A community of interest may be people who love dogs, sailboats, or motorcycles. The topic is irrelevant. It’s an environment where people share similar interests or passions. You can even get granular when it comes to communities of interest. For example, you can narrow down your motorcycle community to one that only includes people who drive a Harley Davidson Heritage Soft Tail Classic. The more granular you get, the more targeted you can be in giving people what they would like rather than the junk they don’t want.
In your organization, you can set up electronic communities of practice in order to get people communicating ideas and sharing knowledge. You could have a community for your salespeople, engineers, HR, marketing, IT, etc. Then, consider expanding it to gain a greater level of communication. For example, what if you established a community of practice for all the CEOs in your industry? Now you’re going outside the organization and aligning the practice. You could even do one for all CIOs of Fortune 500 or Fortune 100 companies. The possibilities are endless and they open up the communication channels for enhanced dialog and innovation companywide.
All of these suggestions are aimed at improving communications rather than merely providing more information. Therefore, you need to ask yourself how your organization can use these tools not only internally, but also with your trading partners and customers to enhance information and add communication.
Embrace the future now
Do you want to get people to take action and respond to your communications internally and externally? Of course you do. Are the tools there to do it? Yes, many of them exist in your organization now but you’re people are using them in an information age mindset, which is giving them more to do but making them less effective.
If you have doubts about the communication age being upon us, look at how marketing has changed. It used to be one-way and static. Companies would do a television, radio, or print ad and put it out there, hoping sales would improve. Today, companies are doing marketing and advertising in a completely new way. For example, they have contests for people to do a video of why their product is great and then they air the winner’s video during the Superbowl. By doing so, they’re turning customers into active participants. The shift in marketing is actually a shift in communicating — they want people to be interactive and engaged with the brand.
All this means you can’t just think of yourself as a CIO, CTO, or manager of technology, you also have to think of yourself as a Chief Communications Officer. Remember, the past doesn’t go away. And there’s a time to inform and a time to communicate, so look at what your organization is trying to accomplish. Data and information are great, but if you want people to act on that data and information, you have to use today’s technology in a way that opens a meaningful dialog. When you do, you’ll move your people to action and will advance the organization to new levels of success.
Daniel Burrus is considered one of the world’s leading technology forecasters and business strategists, and is the founder and CEO of Burrus Research, a research and consulting firm that monitors global advancements in technology driven trends to help clients better understand how technological, social and business forces are converging to create enormous, untapped opportunities. He is the author of six books, including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal best seller Flash Foresight: How To See the Invisible and Do the Impossible as well as the highly acclaimed Technotrends.