SOCM 2016: Quantifying the Value of Community

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Strategy

State of Community Management 2016 coverThe State of Community Management 2016 provides a snapshot of the progress and changes in community management, based on research of more than 300 communities from organizations large and small, which span a range of use cases, sectors and industries.

Every year we continue to build upon the past research and explore more deeply topics that TheCR Network members highlight as crucial to building a better understanding of the power and impact of community approaches.

Our three key findings, driven by your answers, were:

  • Strategy: defining shared value drives success.
  • Operations: empowering members accelerates engagement.
  • Tactics: measure what you want to see, not what you have.

The full report also dives into the need to measure ROI, offering insights and a formula for communities to capture their ROI based on a simple metric – the answered question.

The State of Community Management report is one of the most important online community research projects that takes place on an annual basis. Lead by Rachel Happe, Jim Storer and their Community Roundtable team, this report summarises responses from managers of 339 different communities worldwide, to provide data that provides an exception set of benchmarks against which your own community can be measures. In addition, clear trends are extracted in terms of the directions that internal and external communities will take in 2016 and beyond, and the strategies that should be employed to maximise growth and value.

If you only read and digest one piece of industry research this year, it should be SOCM 2016.

More >

Webinar image

A new 6-week course to help you Work Out Loud – June/July 2016

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Events

Here at Fostering Community, we are great fans of Working Out Loud – John Stepper’s published approach to working in the open, transparently and with authenticity.  As he describes it:

Instead of networking to get something, you lead with generosity, investing in relationships that give you access to other people, knowledge, and possibilities. Part of the process is learning ways to make your work visible and frame it as a contribution.

The core community framework that sustains Working Out Loud is the Circle:

Circles help you develop a mindset and habit you can apply to any goal. These small peer support groups are now in 16 countries and in organizations ranging from multi-national firms to universities to humanitarian groups. The thing they all have in common is wanting their people to feel intrinsically motivated to be more collaborative and effective.

John’s book covers this well, but really there is nothing better than experiencing the power of WOL Circles in person.  Obviously you could just go ahead and set up a circle in your workplace (we’d love to assist you if so), but a better plan is to be part of a training circle in order to understand the potential, and the pitfalls, of Working Out Loud.  The good news is that there is such an opportunity coming up in just a few weeks:


You will both experience a Working Out Loud Circle, where you will decide on a goal to work on over the 6 weeks, and will be supported to use a step-by-step process to move towards this through expanding your networks, deepening your relationships and increasing your influence.

As well as being part of a Working Out Loud Circle, this course will give you the tips and tools you need to be a WOL Circle facilitator in your workplace or community.


The course runs over 6 weeks, each Thursday from 4 – 5.30pm. We’ll stay in touch throughout using Slack, a free App that you can use on your smart phone or computer. The Slack group will be open for 8 weeks – a week before the course to meet people, and for a week after the course ends.

All you need is a computer with internet and video connection, and a headset/headphones to take part. You need to participate in all 6 sessions.



  1. By experiencing a WOL Circle for yourself – with 4 or 5 other people (as part of the 90 minute sessions)
  2. By practicing facilitating a WOL Circle meeting
  3. By hearing directly from John – his top tips and insights on how to lead WOL Circles
  4. Through the weekly question and answer sessions, both online and through Slack
  5. Through reading and using the new updated WOL Circle guides
  6. Through reading Working Out Loud by John Stepper. This will be sent to you as soon as you sign up and pay.
  7. And by joining a growing international WOL community who are sharing their experiences and learning as they go

The course is being run by John Stepper and Helen Sanderson Associates, and the dates for the sessions are as follows:

Thursday 9 June – 4pm-5.30pm (BST)
Thursday 16 June – 4pm-5.30pm (BST)
Thursday 23 June – 4pm-5.30pm (BST)
Thursday 30 June – 4pm-5.30pm (BST)
Thursday 7 July – 4pm-5.30pm (BST)
Thursday 14 July – 4pm-5.30pm (BST)

The course cost is £350 including VAT, and you can register via EventBrite.

I will be attending myself, and would love to work with you in the WOL Circle that will result! See you there?

Community Group on Beach

Welcome to Fostering Community!

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Company News, Strategy

Walt Disney - Down New PathsNew beginnings are always exciting. Nerve-wracking? Yes, that too. But a new start never fails to make one want to get out of bed and take on the challenge of what is ahead.

That’s where we are today.

However, this is more than just a new beginning, a new path…

This community model of communication and collaboration has had so much potential for so long.

Through my previous consultancy businesses – Collaboration Matters and Social 365 – I’ve lived the heady days of the noughties when ‘social’ was the new buzzword and everyone was trying to catch the ClueTrain, through the ‘E2.0’ era when every enterprise vendor spied the opportunity to spin up a collaboration platform of their own, through to these times of ICQ clones leading the hype-cycle of IM+ as the new email…

But this feels different. The time is now.

Working out loud via online communities is no longer ‘A New Way to Work‘. It is the only way to work.

Online communities are no longer simply a virtual manifestation of their face-to-face siblings. They are the way that individuals live and teams work. The structures that bind groups and enable networks across the world – everywhere except in so many large institutions

As I stand here in May 2016 surveying the landscape of our industry with fresh eyes, I am more excited than ever about the new behaviours, structures, and technologies that are fuelling healthy, productive disruption to the industrial-age beliefs, taxonomies, and processes that still inhabit in our enterprises.

I continue to have an all-consuming passion for introducing change to those large institutions that will result in a step-change in productivity, stronger engagement, more shared experiences, improved innovation, and sharper growth.

Online communities are no longer about the ‘why?’ – we’ve beaten that question to death over the past decade. Instead, it is about the ‘how?’.  How are you…

  • Planning your community strategy for successful launch and growth?
  • Enabling your community managers to full support and encourage your community?
  • Attracting and enabling your community advocates?
  • Designing your calls-to-action to drive community behaviour?
  • Measuring the value and success of your community?

That’s why your organisation needs capable and experienced strategists to assist with any new community launch.  As Gartner state:

“Turning on collaboration software and waiting for viral adoption does not work. Successful companies drive the collaboration program like any other strategic initiative.”

So if you’re planning a new community, whether internal or external, call on Fostering Community. We’ll ensure that the new way becomes the only way for you and your users…