During The Linux Foundation’s recent Open Source Summit in Prague I had the opportunity of speaking with Community/Development Strategy Consultant and author Jono Bacon. Jono works with many organisations helping them to understand the importance of building and scaling a passionate, engaged and productive community.

Communities:

His interest in communities first began through his connection with the open source community when he discovered Linux in 1998.  At that time people were starting to collaborate through technology online and he realized that this was something he could plug into that was bigger than himself.

Jono has worked as a consultant in many large organisations across various industries. He creates internal communities within the financial services, in communications, developer platforms, consumer products, professional services, networking, storage, and elsewhere. He has also worked closely with developers of open sources projects. Being able to build communities in organisations helps them to run more effectively and efficiently.

The Future of Work:

We discussed the challenges of the The Future of Work. Communities will become more diverse and will encompass virtual workers, with differences in locations, cultures and languages. Jono agreed that this is a big concern for businesses and that many are nervous about people working and living on the other side of the planet.

Looking on the plus side though, he said that work can now be done electronically and has become more efficient.  He’s a big believer in efficiency and also in reducing hourly meetings to half an hour which he finds cuts down on waffle.

He also believes that time needs to be side aside for workers to connect, build trust and relationships outside of the formal work environment. He’s found that businesses don’t always recognize the importance of this and the value of these social and bonding interactions.

It worries him that the Future of Work is predominately about efficiency and optimization. He understands that humans are often messy and that this needs to be taken into account.

I agreed with him that people are messy, and asked about different personality types in communities. I wondered what he thought of individuals who might not be good at socializing, connecting and building relationships and how they might integrate into a community.

He answered:

When things are hard, when things are tough, when we feel we have a disadvantage, I think getting over that, wrestling with it and accomplishing it, is what makes us stronger.  Resilience is important.

Challenges and Opportunities in Established Communities:

Working in large organisations Jono has encountered various challenges. Some individuals recognize their organisation’s value proposition easily and that’s what they focus on, while others may be excited about making changes.

Trust can become a big issue when bringing together the different objectives and goals of management and operational departments within an established community. Collaboration is key. Other factors to take into account are:

· Never personalize issues

· Listen to constructive feedback

· Change any negative behaviour that becomes known

· Develop an open mindset

· Take a holistic view of the organisation

During his keynote presentation Smart Incentivization, Jono identified four key principles that act as a framework to build and scale a passionate, engaged and productive community.

  1. Acceptance: people want to be accepted
  2. Reciprocal: when you do something for someone they want to give back
  3. Habit forming: it takes approximately 60 days to change behaviour
  4. Authentic: be real, everyone has a bull#?*! radar

Key Takeaways:

In this time of rapid exponential growth and disruption in industries, building effective communities is vital.  If organisations wish to be more innovate and successful it’s important to realize that working in silos is not the way forward.  It’s becoming more and more evident that it’s the end user and/or customer that will dictate the type of product or service they want.

To know more about Jono and his work you can visit his website Jono Bacon Consulting.


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