#DefraCommunities update — 2019 October
10:57 Tuesday 29 October 2019 @ Defra offices, London
I’ve got an hour till my next thing, so here’s an update on the work Imran and I are doing on communities in the Defra group.
The idea is we change the culture of the Defra group via communities. As to what we’ll change the culture from and to is a bunch of assumptions at the moment. So we’ve started somewhere smaller with a product we can test.
A year or so ago I attended a 2 day Liberating Stuctures immersion workshop in London. Liberating Structures a collection of facilitation techniques including classics like 1–2–4-All and Open Space Technology. At the workshop we received a pack of playing cards explaining the structures and how to use them.
Based on these I suggested we build something similar to aid conversations with (potential) community managers. So I do user research with various community leaders and Imran builds and iterates the community cards:
These cards work well in conversations and we’ve received good feedback.
Our initial view of how to scale this would be to hire more community development managers (the job Imran and I do) and send them out with the cards to have more conversations. But our senior sponsor has suggested we figure out how to implant our work into other people’s strategies and delivery plans.
This means being able to succinctly describe what we do, hence this blog post.
This feels like a good question to start with, but it initially leads to a bunch of widely held beliefs:
- Communities can give you a sense of belonging
- You can learn from your fellow community members
- It’s nice to have peers who will listen to your ideas and problems
- The need to contribute to something bigger and feel rewarded for it
- It’s useful to have peeps who challenge your beliefs in a safe environment
The user research I did provided more concrete answers. However, I just went to open them and can’t find them, which is frustrating (will find and publish them next time). I based the user reserach on some standard questions and worked with Defra Digital’s head of user research and others to refine them.
The questions teased out memories from participants so I could see what they think they did for a bunch of given scenarios such as:
- Why did you create the community?
- How did you attract more members?
- Tell me about the 1st meetup you did
So again, why #DefraCommunities?
Oh dear. I need a better answer for this that’s based on the user research I did. Will have a proper search later after all the meetings I’m about to go to.