Sunday, May 20, 2012

Start As A Factory And Add A Showroom

A few weeks back I did an interesting experiment with Jam. We had to create a lot of product demos showcasing SAP and SuccessFactors products to prepare for Sapphire, the annual SAP Customer conference.  We also had to roll it out to a large number of people within the company.

I created a Jam group for the people who were designing and producing the demos. It started off as a list of demos to do and all the content, resources and conversation associated with the demo. When a person entered the Jam group it resembled a factory, where things are getting done. There was a lot of chaos initially. Over a period of time things settled down and a list of demos emerged. My colleagues started sharing updates, adding their latest content and inviting other colleagues. It became a useful list of all the demos that are being created for SAP and SuccessFactors products.

Some colleagues started inviting not only other demo producers but also consumers of demos. Marketing colleagues asked if we can turn this group into a showroom for the demos that are being created. So we tidied up the from page and grouped the demos together in a meaningful way for consumers of the demos. We also added an introduction explaining what the group was all about.

Meanwhile the group continued to be a place for demo producers to exchange content, files and have a conversation. The only difference was that the conversations and updates were moved to the background.

I think it is a nice pattern for any community to evolve. Start a place for building things and then morph into a place where things are organized and showcased. Let initial participants invite others. A strong community will emerge.

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