Internal Online Communities
Over the years, we’ve learnt an important lesson over the about building internal communities; forget the internal part.
For an internal community, try to forget that you’re building an internal community. Focus on building a community. The rules here remain the same.
You need a specific group of people with things to talk about. The more they interact with each other, the more likely they are to take the actions you want them to. But, first, you need to build that community between them.
You might want members to share best practices, collaborate, generate great ideas, and a range of identified benefits. But you need to build that community first to facilitate this.
That means you need to initiate discussions that get people involved and talking to each other online. You need to recognize good participants. You need to schedule regular online/offline events. You need to accept and encourage discussions which might sound frivolous (e.g. “Does anyone have any coffee brand preference for the machine?”) yet gradually build that community.
As you build the community, gradually introduce the opportunity to generate ideas, collaborate on projects, share/document best practices. It wont (and shouldn’t) ever be the sole goal of the community. Yet, it will get you what you want.