Community as a Channel for Creation
Leveraging community as a channel to create scalable solutions, products and services
A community is defined here as a group of people gathered around a shared interest. While this is a generalisation of the definition of community, it can be seen as encompassing the varying definitions.
From leisure to learning, culture to location, professional work to farming, people gather together to connect and share around varying interests.
But what if more could be done by these groups of people?
What if the people gathered together for leisure; going for bike rides together could solve their shared problem of renting bikes on the go?
What if farmers coming together could solve their shared problem of poor sales, food wastage or bad yield from flooding?
This would give them the ability to create a world where their community thrives and enables their growth.
These individuals, the bikers and the farmers solving their shared problems would be creating solutions to problems they all feel together. They would be evolving beyond just getting together, to solving or creating together.
But how would this work?
Let us look at the process of creation. To create, one would need to:
Think up the idea of what they want to bring into existence (ideation)
Start to work on this idea to make it into a usable product or service, something that can be used; planning and building it out (development)
Test the developed product, service or ‘creation’, collect feedback and apply it back into the development to finish the creation (experimentation).
To make this creation sustainable or scalable so it can grow beyond them, one would need to:
Get funding or investment to build out this creation at a large enough scale to generate enough income or revenue (funding),
Get a large number of people to pay to use the creation, enough people that the cost of creation is covered and there is enough balance to be self-sustaining (marketing).
And so we have the steps for sustained creation!
Communities already cater to or serve the processes described above. Looking specifically at online communities, we can see examples of the processes being done.
For ideation, we see this happen when individuals and brands ask their followers on platforms like YouTube and Twitter for new content ideas or their thoughts on new products.
For development, we see this happen when buildings are built and/or sustained by volunteers in NGOs, and products are built and/or maintained by contributions from developers, designers and other enthusiasts in GitHub (open source development) or contributions and content are crowdsourced from followers on Instagram, Facebook or Discord and other social media platforms.
For rapid experimentation (testing and feedback), we see this happen where individuals and brands share early products to users to alpha or beta test and share feedback. This happens in games, software development, skincare and fashion productions.
For investment or funding generation, we see this happen where individuals and brands crowdsource contributions from enthusiasts, fans or any other following on platforms like Kickstarter, OpenCollective and Patreon.
For marketing, we see this happen where individuals and brands reach out to their ideal customers by participating in communities they are active in, either through sponsored advertising or programming.
For Community to be used for the whole as a channel for creation, it just needs to go through all 5 steps.