One of the ongoing perspectives that I'm developing with community building is that we are researchers. And having this mindset is crucial for our ongoing success.
In that essence, community building requires research. We apply our curiosity to facilitate conversations. Along the way, we methodically discover, curate, summarise, share and make sense of the many different conversations, perspectives, information and insights.
Practicing research as part of our community roles ultimately leads to us being able to make better decisions. The problem I see happening is that we don't have processes to do good research. We live in the hope that we can magically remember what we need to know in our time of need. Or that we can find that piece of information when we need it by searching through the community forums.
Another issue we face is trying to explain why we should spend so much time on research; it can feel like a massive waste of time, or had to justify as a business cost. To me, research is at the heart of good communities. It can feed into so many aspects of our communities and help us build those community flywheels.
As part of our research activities, we need to know what to look for and what will be valuable to the rest of the business. Of course, this will vary from community to community, but one such thing we can practice looking out for is signs of where people are struggling.
These are commonly referred to as pain points, and with this in mind, I hope we can advocate and learn to practice Community Pain Research (CPR) at the heart of our community building efforts. (CPR heart pun intended!)