Starting a New Internal Community from Scratch - Looking for Advice!


(Maisie Mahoney) #1

Hey everyone!

For some context, I work for a large life science/pharma company. I currently work for our Global Data Science organization and have recently taken over the role of Data Science Community Lead.

My task is to build a global data science community within my company. In my mind, that includes, but is not limited to, knowledge transfer across a complex global business, visibility, growth, and relevant learning opportunities for our data scientists, analytics access and empowerment across the company (both within and outside of data science), and some sort of case study repository/yearly showcase of the incredible things we have happening here within the company. I’m so excited for this role, but definitely can already see what challenges a 50,000 employee, three business, 350 year-old company presents to this task.

That all being said, I’m a bit lost on where to start and how to tackle some big questions. How do I get people from different countries, different departments, and different backgrounds to start communicating and sharing with eachother? What platform do I use? How do I make my message relevant and interesting among the bombardment of emails we get every day?

(Richard Millington) #2

Hi @MaiSelph

Welcome to FeverBee and congratulations on the new job. It sounds like a meaty challenge to take on.

So if you were a client, we would probably say:

  1. Goals

I’d begin with making sure the goals were specific, understood, connected to value, and supported by colleagues throughout the organization. If you don’t have this, then nothing else really matters. Building internal relationships is usually the first priority to get the support you need later on. Internally, this usually means something like:

  • Ensuring our data scientists don’t waste time duplicating eachothers’ work.
  • Getting more data scientists to use [x] tools etc…

If you read back on some of our recent blog posts in our FeverBee Explains series, you might find something that helps here.

Once you’re 100% confident you have at least 1 clear goal that’s broadly understood and supported, I’d look at the objectives.

  1. Objectives.

This is what specific behaviors you want members to do.

Some examples might be:

  • Getting our [top experts] to [share case studies] in the community
  • Getting our lurkers to read the best case studies and apply them within their work.
  • Getting our middle group of members to visit and browse the community more frequently.

Make sure these are directly connected to the goals and not just engagement for the sake of more engagement.

  1. Strategy

This is the bit where I think you might have jumped in at, essentially how do you get people to do these things?

What are the emotional levers and associations you’re going to make to get people to do these things?

I’d recommend interviewing 20 to 30 members of the target audience (in real time) and ask them how they feel about the behaviors now. Why don’t they do them? Why do they do them? etc…Lookout for a cluster of that is similar in emotion and then try to amplify that. It might be curiousity, fear, jealousy, confidence, sense of success etc…

I’d also suggest focusing on just one target audience first to get things going and then expand to the different departments around the world. Don’t try to do the entire thing at once, but do gradually build relationships and involve the other groups where possible.

  1. Tactics
    Now you get to the fun part of what you might want to consider doing :slight_smile:

I’d look to identify a few tactics that might have the most reach, most depth, and last for the longest amount of time. Try not to do too many things. Doing 3 to 5 things extremely well is much better than doing 15 to 20 things badly.

For example, if you want to make your message stand out I’d first:

  1. Build relationships and interpersonal awareness with a small group of people so they recognise your name and are more likely to open the email.
  2. Create a subject line that references a code name or word they recognise and associate with something positive about the community.
  3. Never send anything that doesn’t improve their condition (very entertaining or very educational).

A lot of this is just figuring out what that first hook is going to be to make this work. Not easy, but hopefully some of the above might help.