As with any activity there are people that are more adept and communicating and bringing people together than others and the trick to success in the collaborative network is to identify these key communicators and let them do what they do best - bring people together.  This may sound simple when you read the sentence, and I think everyone knows one of these key communicators in their life that brings people together, the difficulty though sometimes is encouraging these communicators to get involved.  The collaborative network is especially dependant on the key communicator concept due to the nature of the network and the broad expanse of partners participating in the network.

The collaborative network and partners must take advantage of the initial high and excitement from members joining the community to identify key communicators and encourage and nurture their participation. This starts off simply by engaging members in the initial interaction with the network members.  During these initial engagements you can begin to identify the level of participation simply through the level of engagement.  Then you expand the investigation and determination by the continued participation and engagement of the members.  The key communicators will tend to actively participate in discussions and will also return regularly to the network for participation and support.  These key communicators are essentially self identifying and simply require the outlet and the encouragement to participate.

The collaborative network requires a continuous flow of ideas, initiatives and offers to support the members in order to maintain the robust participation of members.  In order to continuously grow and support the members, the network must become a central clearinghouse of ideas, information, initiative execution and support.  This clearinghouse concept will both attract and support the key communicators and their participation and encouragement of other members to participate.  This is an interesting ‘chicken or egg’ question, the network must be developed in order to provide this clearinghouse of collaboration, and on the flipside, the clearinghouse will never survive without the active participation of the members.  In addition, the active participation of the members also provides a compelling reason to retain members in the collaborative community.

The successful collaborative community is a complicated network of members that develop and grow through the participation of the members and also the value that is delivered by the community.  There can be no members without the community and there can be no reason for members to join the community without the promise of value returned.  The initial attraction for members to join is the promise of the value returned and the continued growth can only be achieved through the actual delivery of value.  Your efforts in creating and maintaining the collaborative community must be the participation of the members in order to be able to deliver on the promise of value.


And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

ECommerce will have wide ranging impacts on both the retail and manufacturing sectors.  How can you focus these abilities to improve the consumer's experience?  Improving the consumer’s experience will require a re-evaluation of the sales channels, the manufacturing channels and practices and the supply chain channels and practices from the raw materials to the consumers’ homes.  In order to ensure and maintain success in this new reality you must harness the tools and capabilities in many new areas.  How can you support these continuously changing requirements?