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Categories: Best Community Story or Anecdote
Entered by: Mark Hopkins (Mark_Hopkins)
Community Name: Lenovo Community
If the Lenovo Community has a secret formula, it's the collaboration with our superusers established long before we launched. When we decided to launch our own community, we asked ourselves what would happen if we invited our customers to help us build, run, and develop the community instead of just presenting it to the world and hoping it would work. In other words, what if we threw our customers the keys?
That’s exactly what we did.
The community runs with a moderation team composed entirely of customer volunteers from all over the world—US, Australia, Canada, Germany, India, Pakistan, and Turkey. Initially, the collaboration focused on the operation of the community - the policies, the rules, and the content. We tapped the experience of this group - many who are also admins and moderators in other technology communities to develop community rules and practices, and to encourage the team to identify and recruit rising talent from within the ranks as the community grew.
Over the last three years of operation, a group of approximately 30 members contributed 44% of the solutions in the community, and in less than one year helped us grow the community knowledge base to over 1200 articles.
We've shared our problem solving objectives and found mutual purpose in helping customers through the community and the group has responded, doubling our effective montly accepted solution rate.
While I expected that we would have a shared purpose with our super users in helping facilitate discussion about our products, I have been surprised by how the relationship has grown with several of our volunteer moderators taking it to the next level and getting involved in helping develop the community working in Lithium Studio, our staging site, and also participating directly here in the Lithosphere. They're reading about community best practices, successfully submitting ideas for features they value in other communities like the quick reply feature, sharing their community experience with others, have been recognized for their Lithosphere contributions through Kudos and even a spot on the VIP Council.
After reading Michael Wu's blog post series on rank progression, JaneL, one of our volunteer moderators noted that our original rank structure was holding us back.
Jane developed and implemented a new structure that allowed user advancement along multiple paths depending upon user participation style, all while adding a bit of fun and mystery with computer themed rank names ranging from "Punch Cards", to “What’s DOS”, and the ever-elusive "TrackPoint Cap". Jane, known on the Lithosphere as jloyless has contributed a number of ideas which have been implemented.
Erik, another volunteer moderator and frequent Lithosphere participant, contributes his time and talent as a graphic designer and has been responsible for most of the header and announcement images found throughout our community since inception, including our current TKB hero image above.
When our community added two new languages last year, Erik learned to use Lithium Studio and, along with Cleo—one of our community admins, developed the new skin and tabbed navigation style that we thought worked so well on the Lithosphere.
As we launched our German community, andyP and several other English/German volunteer moderators jumped into our staging site to help us tweak the localization terms and served as goodwill ambassadors, introducing us to an existing German forum and the rest of the German social ecosphere.
This year our superusers are helping Lenovo develop a community advocate program to recognize and enable even more helpfulness in others.
Community practitioners frequently gravitate to stats when describing what makes superusers super—the thousands of hours spent helping others, dozens of ideas, hundreds of solutions, and thousands of posts contributed.
Our community has all that, but perhaps when it comes to the diverse talents of your super contributors the better question is not "How super are you?" but rather "How are you super?"
I am moved.
Wow. That is pretty darned impressive.
Thanks so much for the kind words! I think our volunteer group works well together as a unit, and Mark's leadership inspires us to do our best.
Great stuff from all three! I would love to see that new Rank Structure.
Thanks, Justin! We're just a small part of the effort. We'll have to share some of the other moderators like bananaman, Agotthelf and Vijay's accomplishments before long - couldn't do it without the whole group!
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