The rise of the Community Manager and the Collaboration Garden: an IBM Social Business Briefing

For our third IBM Social Business Briefing (aka Wicked Wednesdays) on 25th April at Royal Exchange in London, we felt the time was right to move the discourse from thought leadership and education to a more practical footing.

Of course, we still leveraged the superb network of independent thought leaders who we are lucky to have at our events BUT at this latest event we changed / evolved the format.

On this occasion I framed the discussion on the emerging role of the Community Manager (seen by some as the ‘rock star of the Enterprise’) and then actually used a collaboration platform to discuss, collaborate and innovate around the chosen topic.

The objective or rather the output of the debate was not simply to gain a better understanding of this subject (the fastest growing job role in Social Business) but also to create a job description for the role of Community Manager which could then be downloaded and iterated by users.

To help us achieve this we introduced attendees to the Collaboration Garden – a place where the Wicked Wednesday discussion and collaboration goes on in and around the physical events.

Once inside the Garden, users could not only record their opinions and raise questions but they could also examine (through the software) the potential responsibilities and attendant tools on hand to assist a Community Manager with user adoption – e.g. gamification and social media feeds.

The overall sentiment was that this was our best Wicked Wednesday to date and pointed the way forward for future events.  Weaving the use of the collaboration platform into the discussion from the start had a number of important effects:

  • It forced us all ‘to drink our own champagne
  • Individuals contributed to the Garden on-premise and remotely (including from Spain and Ireland)
  • It highlighted how much was lost when we simply spoke and did not record
  • Live collaboration in the platform allowed for multi-threaded conversations which themselves were profoundly different to normal conversation
  • Those who were not familiar with a social collaboration platform experienced it in a way that was far more refreshing and natural then the traditional demo mode

Wicked Wednesdays are all about sharing and collaborating with those who attend the latest trends, twists and turns in the Social Business journey. We take risks at this event; we have to in order to keep things fresh and real.  So it was particularly gratifying to hear that the new format was warmly welcomed by those involved.

We are planning our next Wicked Wednesday/Social Business Briefing to take place in June and in keeping with our need to innovate we are experimenting with moving the venue from the Royal Exchange to a comfortable, friendly, coffee shop in the city which should be fun.

For more information, feel free to contact us directly.