If you’re developing a community where you want members to do something, say, generate ideas for your organization, you’re going to stumble across social loafing.
Members participate less in a group (or to be more specific, do simple tasks better but perform complex, brain-related, tasks worse). You conquer this by impressing upon the importance of the task, stressing the importance of the community or rewarding the individuals who make positive contributions
The first two aren’t sustainable. Not every task is that important. There are a limit to how frequently a community can be reminded how important they are. The only remaining option is individual rewards.
If members in any group feel their contribution wont be individually recognised, they wont make them.
- Don’t set the goal as a group. As a group, the individual members will do less. Set goals for individuals. Ensure individuals are driving it forward.
- Mentions in news story. Mention the contributions of these individuals in news stories, often. This should be standard practice for you anyway.
- Interview members. Interview members who make the positive contributions. Interviews show others what they need to do and establish status within the community.
- Game mechanics/rankings. Rank members who are participating (and those not participating). Rankings are addictive and show individual recognition for the contributions made.
- Award titles. This is a favourite, give them awards or titles as an outcome of contributions they have made. This spurs on their efforts and the efforts of others.
- Call for members to participate. Issue an open call for members to participate and take responsibility for certain tasks. People are usually keen to put themselves forward to help and lead others.
- Give individuals more power. Increase the level of power you can offer people who do make positive contributions.
- Target specific members to participate. Ask specific individuals with a history of contributing to make certain things happen.
If you can engender the individuality of the task, rather than it’s collective effort, you’re far more likely to gain the level of participation you need.