There are no shortcuts or secrets to the success of the collaboration community no matter what someone may try to tell you.  The true secret to the success of the community is directly related to the hard work of  participating members in collaboration and encouraging and maintaining the participation level of the community members.  I am sure that you have heard many people such as marketing and sales groups promising to provide the secret to success if you only buy their book, or you only participate in their lecture series.  These can all be very positive motivating activities when starting the community or to interest new members in your community and you will find in these sessions and literature that the ‘secret’ boils down to hard work and dedication to the promise of the value derived from the community.

Leadership participation and encouragement from all community members may be the most important method to encourage participation and engagement of the members.  What I mean by this is the leadership of initiatives and strategic objectives must cross over and be shared across the membership.  I am not suggesting that multiple leaders be responsible for an initiative, this would be a recipe for failure!  The initiative and objective leadership should be taken on by one person that would either gain the most from the initiative, or is most passionate towards the initiative.  I have found over the years that a critical retention and engagement method toward employees of an organization is to identify the activities that excite and employee or that an employee enjoys performing and then determine how to assign them to these activities.  This simple act will strengthen both the retention of employees and the success of their assignments.  This practice should be incorporated into the collaborative community to encourage engagement and success of the community.

Leadership and participation should not obscure the importance and the level of effort required to ensure the success of the community initiatives and strategic objectives.  The community requires participation from each of the members in a regular fashion, not necessarily for each initiative or objective however they must be engaged and encouraged to participate.  Building the sense of community through participation, engagement and shared leadership across the members is the most effective method to ensure the longevity and continued value of the community. 

In order to simplify the participation and engagement there must be methods and tools that simplify the process and are easily and cost effectively shared across the community.  The tools must support notification and response to communication and they must also be available across organizations and even around the world at any time.  These requirements point to cloud based communication methods and tools.  My recommendation is to engage tools that are simple, pervasive and free or low cost. 


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?