Building communities

A fortnight ago, I helped facilitate a workshop attended by about 16 UK construction professionals, all members of Constructing Excellence‘s collaborative working champions group (see my EE post Collaborative Working Champions going online). My friend Martin Brown (isite) and I introduced the group to some of the basic principles of social media and gave them some hand-on exposure to some web 2.0 tools and techniques, including some hands-on practice. The final act was to begin work on a new online community, using the Ning platform, and today this is just about ready to go live to its founder members.

On the verge of inviting that group to join the network, I read today’s Daily Telegraph article by Clay Sharkey (How the net gives power to the people). While he focuses on political use of the internet, some of his points seem to me to apply just as much to the construction industry and to the potential of web 2.0 tools to help industry people collaborate and change things:

Until recently, large groups of people left to their own devices rarely did anything complex. They needed management and oversight to help them work together. Digital access, though, is changing that.

… any tool that makes it easier for people to do things in groups will mean more group action – a lot more group action.

… society is made up not just of individuals, but of groups that pull together. If you change the way groups get things done, you can change the world.

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