Communities are essential for Social Businesses. All communities go through a community maturity model.

1.  Potential:  Planning phase of maturity.  It typically involves setting up the community elements required for long term success such as roles and responsibilities, strategy, mission, membership planning and activities.

community maturity model

2.  Formation of the community.  Having a great community manager is a key factor of success.   During the formation, the initial members and influencers

3.  Building and Evolving.   The community builds and evolves as it forms.   The best communities stick to their goals but evolve in the way they reach them.    Typically building and evolving involves driving traffic to community and increasing member participation.   The topic of content curation is also one that grows and questions of contribution of content and consumption is reviewed.   The community may review how to improve quality of content and how to train the leaders.

4.  Operationalization.  A community that has made it to this stage, has begun to do analysis adn use the insight to drive to its strategic objectives.   Typically, the metrics are around Collaboration, Consumption, and Contribution. Opportunities, Risks and learning are then applied.  This is the time to develop detailed action plan to achieve goals, maintain and monitor activity plan and content strategy, identify potential content gaps to feed to harvesting plans

and to train community members on social.

5.  Adaptive.   This final phase is where the community now takes on the personality of the members. It enables the community manager to drive the goals to the next level.

At IBM, we do Health Checks for our communities.  

These health checks do the following:
  • Ensure the communities have the design for success
    • Clearly defined strategy and active plans
  • Produce Healthy communities
–High volume of collaboration, contribution and consumption
–Connecting people to experts and people to quality strategy content
–Ensure Community roles and responsibilities are clearly defined
–Facilitate business benefits that lead to important organizational value
  • Utilize the Brokerage Service to ensure long term vitality and maturity of the community
–Consistently high participation, collaboration and contribution and consumption from the community members