Creating Vibrant Online Collaborative Communities Within an Organization

OnlineCommCover_RF_001An encapsulation of common-sense advice from 15 thought leaders and community managers who have established internal online collaborative communities, this IABC Research Foundation report is a useful resource for any business communicator looking for guidance on creating such communities in their organization. Researcher Kay Corry Aubrey lays out the step-by-step process to set up an online collaborative community, with particular focus on how to gain both top-down and bottom-up support for the effort. This report was sponsored by Marketwire.

As social media tools proliferate, more and more communicators are challenged to explore the options these tools offer for their organizations. With geographically dispersed employees, customers and consumers, the world is becoming a smaller place. Technology allows those in the U.S. to chat with an outsourced operation in India, a call center in Bangkok, and fellow communicators in Australia and South Africa.

Online mass (or global) collaboration systems rely on large numbers of people to engage in discussing and solving a specific problem or addressing a complex organizational situation. The advent of the Internet and social media tools provides a cost-effective means of creating a platform for mass collaboration, as well as for engaging stakeholders well beyond the capacity of other communication methods/tools. Discussion groups, wikis, blogs, forums and other social media have created a variety of mass collaboration tools that are readily available, many at no cost. The ability to communicate across organizational and geographic boundaries changes the relationship between customers and organizations, between organizations themselves and within organizations. It offers the potential to break down barriers and facilitate interaction and, ultimately, collaborate in order to share information and solve problems, as well as to address complex situations that may not have a “solution” but that can be improved through this type of collaboration.