#ideaschat with Chicago Ideas Week

Every Tuesday at 11am, innovators gather on Twitter to discuss a variety of topics, tracking their discussion with the hashtag #ideaschat. I was fortunate enough to co-host the #ideaschat on May 26th with Chicago Ideas Week (@chicagoideas).

In tune with my field of work, I decided to focus the discussion on building community in organizations. Participants, both individuals and organizations, shared in my passion for community, collaboration, and organizational effectiveness and were heavily engaged in the topic. Below are some of the highlights from our lively discussion.

Icebreaker: Is there a type of environment where building community at work is not needed? 

The Shift ‏@TheShiftChi Community can be cultivated & gently encouraged, but should never be forced. Making engagement mandatory can drive ppl away. #IdeasChat


Q1: What are some of the pros and cons to diverting org resources and time into internal community? 

Dion McGill ‏@Dionsmusica A1: Well a definite pro is that people within the organization feel valued  #ideaschat

Jenelle Birchmeier ‏@jenbirch10 A1: increasing happiness, engagement and diversity of ideas #Ideaschat


Q2: What are some organizations that do an outstanding job of building community with their staff? 

April Schmapril ‏@schmapes A2: @826chi builds amazing community among staff, volunteers, & students alike through recognition & celebration #ideaschat

Kathryn Terrell ‏@kathrynetee A2: Seems obvious but @facebook gets an A+ in my book for building a strong community within the company. #Ideaschat


Q3: How can management be a part of building a strong community/culture in a workplace? 

Dion McGill ‏@Dionsmusica A3: I think a key component of that is that management actually is a part of the community and practices its values. #ideaschat

Jenelle Birchmeier ‏@jenbirch10 A3: encourage open communication, questions and ideas at ALL levels. Provide safe spaces for employees to do so.  #Ideaschat


Q4: Is it possible to create overlap between communities in and out of the workplace? 

Peg Keiner ‏@PegKeiner Q4 In situations where people feel they are an integral piece of the community sum, those groups can break any barriers together. #ideaschat

Jenelle Birchmeier ‏@jenbirch10 A4: volunteer projects, sponsoring organizations and general work outings are all great ways to crossover.  #Ideaschat


Q5: What are some of the most cutting edge experiences orgs can provide to build community? 

Coyote Logistics ‏@CoyoteLogistics A5: Coyotes get a "Big Idea Day" to work on and document their big idea to present to Coyotes and leadership. #ideaschat #community

The Shift ‏@TheShiftChi A5: Simple but effective: Orgs can encourage organized events (employee potlucks) or provide communication tools (Slack) #IdeasChat


BonusQ: Can organizations go too far with providing fun and crazy extras in the workplace?

Benjamin A. Stafford ‏@BenjArtStafford: look under your chairs... You get a free pony, and you get a free pony, and you get a free pony! #ideaschat