Is Your Online Community An Idea Incubator?

Is your online community an idea incubator or think tank? The gathering of minds in the same location has always been a good thing. It’s also good for your online community — especially if it is a brand-centered community.

Diversity of thought and psychological safety are the two key components of idea incubators — online or off.

Embrace Diversity of Thought

Diversity is important. We usually think of diversity in terms of gender, race, and sexuality. What about diversity of thought?

In the Age of Enlightenment, scholars from all different disciplines gathered together in the coffee house. That gathering of differing schools of thought is the key to innovation. New ideas are rarely sparks. As Steven B Johnson alludes to in his Ted Talk, it’s more about a slow hunch.

Chance favors the connected mind.

Steven B Johnson

Many Meetup Groups and Online Communities have specific questions required for entry. It may even require monetary membership. This is the golf club approach where people have to pay and prove they belong. You may be inadvertently creating a vacuum where ideas go to die.

So, is your community only open to one specific demographic? This could hinder new ideas for your community and/or your product-based brand.

Provide Psychological Safety

If your online community is a vehicle for innovation, the key is facilitating psychological safety. Dumb ideas need to be welcomed. They are platforms to jump onto better ideas. Questions need to be valued. Failure should be embraced.

The incubator environment sparks curiosity with openness that is needed for success. Introspection, provided through information access, is one of the top reasons to place your business idea within an incubator.

ProVeg Incubator

This is hard for the technical community. Unfortunately, we are plagued with ridicule, insecurity, and competition. Competition, when taken to a personal level, breeds impostor syndrome which feeds the status quo.

Subtle languaging of superiority will discourage questions, ideas, and suggestions. Being aware of this will help your moderators encourage and reward innovation from its members.

It is hard to be disruptive when you have to tiptoe around an existing corporate process.

Gavin Kelly

Start Incubating Ideas

Encourage your customers to provide feedback and suggestions. Be open to ideas. Incubators make your online community more engaging and productive — for everyone. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t start today.


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Brought to you by PeepSo Team Bridget Willard
I specialize in business to business relationship marketing. Teaching is the new marketing. People skills are even more important to stand out from the crowd of scheduled tweets. I earned a BA in Liberal Studies, got my Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential, and after one year my path took another route. That combination of skills has presented opportunities to tutor others and help get accounts started. Go to LinkedIn for more.

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