Community Manager musings: Technical stewards – community managers with toolkits!

Community manager musings is a series of occasional posts looking at the roles and skills of community managers – usually within science. 

What’s in a community manager’s toolkit? As technology stewards they may choose, use and support multiple tools.
Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/elkokoparrilla/5106301020/

 

As we’ve been exploring on this blog, community managers can exist in different types of communities within science, and their role can have a variety of names, depending on what they’re doing and what kind of organisation they’re working for. In my latest reading I’ve been learning about the role of the technology steward – a term coined by Etienne Wenger, Nancy White and John D.Smith and described in their 2009 book, “Digital Habitats.”

Their description states that a technology steward…

“…adopts a community’s perspective to help a community choose, configure and use technologies to best serve its needs. Tech stewards attend both to what happens spontaneously and what can happen purposefully, by plan and by cultivation of insights into what actually works.”

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Responsive, transformative, contagious – Alan Alda’s three elements of listening

I’m currently taking part in an online science communication book club that’s discussing Alan Alda’s latest book “If I understood you, would I have this look on my face?” As well as being a well-known TV personality, Alda is the founder of the Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University. The Center draws upon improv techniques for some of the trainings that it provides to scientists to help them improve their communications skills. In this book Alda outlines three elements of listening that are vital in being able to relate to one another.

Lessons from a M*A*S*H*ter communicator…
Image credit: author’s own

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Considering Community: Communities of practice as vital tools for knowledge management

Social in silico includes a series of occasional posts focused on community management tips and related information. I’m tagging these Considering Community and you can find all the posts in the series here

Previously on this blog, I’ve reflected on the different types of community that I’ve observed within science and specifically in the first cohort of the community engagement fellowship program that I run at AAAS. I identified four initial broad types of scientific communities – from professional associations to communities of practice. I’m currently delving deeper into communities of practice and am enjoying reading “Cultivating communities of practice” by Etienne Wenger, Richard McDermott and William M. Snyder.

Communities of practice and coffee – breaking down those silos one latte at a time…
Image credit: author’s own

What’s a community of practice – and what does it have to do with knowledge management?

A community of practice is a group of people who gather to learn more about a topic together and in doing so deepen their knowledge and expertise. The group may not have a specifically defined goal, but rather meet regularly to continually refine what they know about a subject. As such, communities of practice are key to knowledge management.

Wenger et al list 5 ways in which communities of practice are key to how we manage knowledge:

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5 books that have influenced how I think about community management

In a series of 3 posts, I’m sharing some books that I’ve found useful on the topics of community management, online interactions, and leadership and team culture. In this post, I recommend 5 books that discuss community management and working effectively with groups.

1. “The art of community” by Jono Bacon

This was the book that years ago helped me to realise that I was a community manager. Jono Bacon describes what a community manager does – including the importance of good communication practices, selecting the right tools, and balancing being a member of the community while often negotiating your role as an employee representing an organization. If you’re wondering whether you’re a community manager, or are brand new to the role, this is a good place to start.

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5 books that have influenced how I think about leadership and team culture

In a series of 3 posts, I’m sharing some books that I’ve found useful on the topics of community management, online interactions, and leadership and team culture. In this post, I recommend 5 books that discuss being an effective leader and creating a collaborative, open culture of learning within your organisation.

1. “The first 90 days” by Michael Watkins

This is really a book about change management – how to make a positive impact in the first 90 days in a new management level role. Given that most employees change their role in some way every couple of years – whether that’s acquiring new direct reports, additional projects or moving elsewhere – effectively managing change is key to a successful career.

Managing change: first step – a nice cup of coffee!

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Halfway there – Reflecting on reading 52 books in a year

I’m a voracious reader – and if you were ever to have coffee with me, the phrase “I’ve been reading this interesting book recently about…” is almost certain to come up. So back in January when setting my New Year’s resolutions I wondered if I could increase the total number of books that I usually read in a year to 52 – and essentially read one book per week for the entire of 2017.

I won’t bore you with a review of each book (there are/will be separate posts for the ones relevant to this blog) but I did think it would be an good exercise to reflect on some of the things that the experience has bubbled up for me so far, now that I’ve reached the halfway point.

“What do you mean we still have another 26 books to go?”
Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ittybittiesforyou/3661636220/

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Framing culture as a choice – using the “X over Y” formula

Recently I finished reading “Whiplash – how to survive our faster future” by Joi Ito, Director of MIT Media Lab and Jeff Howe – who coined the phrase crowd-sourcing. Media Lab has a reputation for innovative, highly experimental projects that push at the boundaries between art, technology, learning and society. “Whiplash” discusses 9 core principles that operate at Media Lab – and why they might be relevant more broadly where innovation is found.

"Whiplash" by Joi Ito and Jeff Howe

“Whiplash” by Jeff Ito and Jeff Howe

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