Originally answered Sep 18, 2017


Communities are groups of people who, for a specific subject, share a specialty, role, passion, interest, concern, or a set of problems. Community members deepen their understanding of the subject by interacting on an ongoing basis, asking and answering questions, sharing information, reusing good ideas, solving problems for one another, and developing new and better ways of doing things.


People join communities in order to:

  1. Share new ideas, lessons learned, proven practices, insights, and practical suggestions.
  2. Innovate through brainstorming, building on each other’s ideas, and keeping informed on emerging developments.
  3. Reuse solutions through asking and answering questions, applying shared insights, and retrieving posted material.
  4. Collaborate through threaded discussions, conversations, and interactions.
  5. Learn from other members of the community; from invited guest speakers about successes, failures, case studies, and new trends; and through mentoring.


  1. Communities should be independent of organization structure; they are based on what members want to interact on.
  2. Communities are different from teams; they are based on topics, not on assignments.
  3. Communities are not sites, team spaces, blogs or wikis; they are people who choose to interact.
  4. Community leadership and membership should be voluntary; you can suggest that people join, but should not force them to.
  5. Communities should span boundaries; they should cross functions, organizations, and geographic locations.
  6. Minimize redundancy in communities; before creating a new one, check if an existing community already addresses the topic.
  7. Communities need a critical mass of members; take steps to build membership.
  8. Communities should start with as broad a scope as is reasonable; separate communities can be spun off if warranted.
  9. Communities need to be actively nurtured; community leaders need to create, build, and sustain communities.
  10. Communities can be created, led, and supported using TARGETs: Types, Activities, Requirements, Goals, Expectations, Tools.
  • Types: TRAIL — Topic, Role, Audience, Industry, Location
  • Activities: SPACE — Subscribe, Post, Attend, Contribute, Engage
  • Requirements: SMILE — Subject, Members, Interaction, Leaders, Enthusiasm
  • Goals: PATCH — Participation, Anecdotes, Tools, Coverage, Health
  • Expectations for community leaders: SHAPE — Schedule, Host, Answer, Post, Expand
  • Tools: SCENT — Site, Calendar, Events, News, Threads

See also:

Knowledge Management Author and Speaker, Founder of SIKM Leaders Community, Community Evangelist, Knowledge Manager https://sites.google.com/site/stangarfield/

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