I believe that technologists too often focus on technology. Key organizational problems are no longer technology specific, and technology issues themselves are not the target of our broader problem-solving efforts (or at least they shouldn’t be). Instead, technology is implicated on a broader, more strategic level, across the entire structure of the organization.
This means that an association’s technological journey depends crucially upon the perspective with which it is embarked upon: if you begin technological development with technology as the focus, your journey will only be as rich as the technology available. If, on the other hand, your focus is from the point of view of strategy, the question becomes one about member need. What do your members need, and how might the intersection between strategy and technology best respond to this need? How do we use technologies to be present at the point of need?
I am therefore in the process of creating a knowledge community, in order for these strategic conversations to have space to develop. An expansion and extension of an in-person group of CIOs who currently meet bi-monthly to discuss the topics most impacting the association space, this knowledge community will be online, and its discussion topics will be evergreen and evolving.
Through a platform offered by Breezio, we are able to turn an online community into an educational, strategy-focused space. With Breezio’s content sharing and collaborative learning capabilities, we can have conversations and encourage mutual learning opportunities right in the middle of educational content. Each time the community meets, a topic will be set, and a facilitator will lead a discussion through a particular document. This document will then be infused with the insights of everybody in the conversation, who will be able to add to the content already there, making it a living, organic library of knowledge around this topic.
These documents will then become evergreen resources, which can be returned to and further enriched in future meetings. The potential for rich content is overwhelming, and the longevity of this content store makes it such an exciting forum for learning and knowledge-sharing. We are still very much in the experimental phases of this project, but our hope is that bringing our community and their educational resources into the virtual world will open up possibilities for deep and high-level strategic thinking.
The point of these online meetings is to make this strategizing tangible – to consider the overarching reasons and rhymes guiding our technological decision-making, and to have them in a virtual format that allows for collaborative learning. Technology is so implicated in the structure of our organizations that deep-seated conversations pertaining to the association space at large bleed out of technology-related topics, meaning that our questions need to be strategic ones – and the strategy needs to be one focused on moments of need. Using a collaborative learning platform is our attempt to put need-focused strategizing into action, in a way that is rich, dynamic, and evolving. Our hope with this knowledge community is that as the needs of our members and communities develop and change, we will be well poised to respond in an educated and informed way.