We are used to looking at charts and graphs and deriving meaning from them. I would suggest that we should be thinking about how these charts and graphs can be used to help us in making smarter decisions and not just eye-candy. When we build a Community, we are helping users make smarter connections with each other because the connections are data-driven. The tags selected in their profile are matched to others that result in a ‘smart’ connection for them to make. So this is obviously of great value to the individual user and happens without them having to really do anything except build a robust profile. However, when we are helping a client with the initial site design, we always ask the question;
What do you want to know about your audience that you do not know today? Once you know the answer, what are you going to do about it to improve your organization?We call this Actionable Business Intelligence. Which means they don’t ask a question in the Profile that they don’t already have a plan for what they will do with the answer. This is data driven decision making. Makes sense, right? This is one of the most challenging aspects of the design phase. People don’t know what they don’t know and they don’t know how to ask the right question. It’s a conundrum to be sure. That’s why we are glad we have kept hundreds of these types of questions from sites previously built to help clients during the brainstorming of a new community design. We love this quote and repeat it often
If you want better answers, ask better questions – Tony RobbinsWe apply this by suggesting to clients, If you want to make better decisions, ask better questions and let the answers drive your decisions. Here are three examples of how you might make data driven decisions:
- You are designing an educational program and want to make sure you apply your limited time and resources to creating the most needed courses. If you had asked a question such as: Areas I need help. Then you could easily look at the answers to the question and quickly find the top five items you should focus on, rather than guessing.
- You are putting together a task force to investigate an industry challenge. If you have asked the question: Biggest challenge facing our industry today, you may find that 79 people had said: Government Regulations. You could then invite the 79 people to seed your group instantly.
- You are wanting to best understand the motivation for people joining your community. By asking the question: What do you expect from this Community (see image above from the NEON site), you would have the range of answers and be able to enlist others based on this knowledge.