For well over the past year my team and I at Chess Media Group have been working on a huge project, the FOW Community. It’s a “by invitation only” membership community dedicated to the future of work and collaboration. This is something we thought of doing a few years ago but it did not materialize until last year. Over the past few years we have worked with, researched, and spoken with several hundred organizations of all shapes and sizes globally. We learned that when it comes to the future of work and collaboration, there are a few common needs that organizations have:
- Organizations want to connect with other organizations to learn what they are doing, share best practices, and build a valuable peer network.
- Organizations want to be able to access regular resources on the future of work and collaboration, such as case studies, research, strategy white papers, and other related content (and they want to have a say in the topics covered in these resources – topics that are relevant to their needs!)
- Organizations want access to an objective and credible third party strategy firm that has actually worked with many types of organizations to help make their future of work and collaboration initiatives successful.
- Organizations want to have all of this available to them in one place and they want it to be easy!
These reasons are exactly why we created the FOW Community. Truth be told, we explored all sorts of options for how we could do this, including leveraging existing out-the-box community platforms. In the end, we decided to build a platform ourselves from scratch. We did this for a few reasons. The first is that we wanted to remain vendor neutral. The second is that for this type of a cross-industry and cross-organizational community there are specific features and requirements which many existing platforms don’t meet, after all, most collaboration platforms were designed to be deployed within a single company, not across many. Finally, we wanted the members to be able to shape the community itself, down to the very features and functionality that the community provides.
We understand that there are plenty of free groups and communities online via places like Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and other free platforms. Of course, you are more than welcome to be a part of those communities. However, we found a few issues with those communities, as did the organizations we spoke with:
- Most of the people who are a part of those communities are vendors or consultants.
- The free communities act as nothing more than forums or discussions boards; they aren’t really robust platforms designed to help organizations solve tough challenges internally.
- The conversations are oftentimes not private and secure and the platforms themselves look and feel quite outdated.
- Free communities are very limited in the features that they offer.
- The quality of the conversations are neither that deep, nor are they very broad.
- Members have no control over the functionality of the platform. What you see is what you get.
- And a few other issues, but I don’t need to list them all.
This isn’t to say that free communities are bad. In fact, I’d much rather see you in a free community than no community at all. However, to do what we are trying to do and to achieve our long-term vision, we knew we had to build it ourselves, and build we did (and it looks beautiful!)
The FOW Community is going launch to the public within a few weeks. We already have some great companies and “founding members” who are going to help kick this off. If you want to request an invitation to join them, then you can do so on our landing page.
Along with the membership community we will be launching a robust, public-facing site with lots of great educational content and information, this will be unveiled in a few weeks.
Here’s a very early sneak peak of what we are creating. This screenshot is from the public facing site we are launching, which will also provide a “look-inside” to the FOW Community so people can get a sense of what they are joining.
This is the very first step towards a big vision we have for the future of work and collaboration. We hope that you will join us for what is sure to be a very fun and exciting new journey!