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February 12, 2010
'Platform Organizations' Offer Great Promise

David Cushman on the Faster Future blog lays out an approach to being, or thinking about becoming, a platform organization. The "platform" is a computer equipped with social media tools, starting with a blog that allows comments or some other form of interactive Web site.

Platform organizations are real organizations on real streets in towns and cities, but their reach is immeasurably greater than their immediate locality in terms of input, potential associates, and customers. They need to be worked at, however, probably more than more traditional organizational forms. There's a lot of learning to be done and shared with on-the-scene colleagues.

Crowdsourcing, creating a virtual community of interested members and commentators wherever they happen to be located, is a key technique. Such virtual interaction provides broader, possibly more creative, input than may be available from local associates. It can yield "value innovation" and "better-fit solutions."

"Through expressing your purpose, and actively seeking those who share it," Cushman adds, "the latent community will emerge: those who care about the same stuff you do and who are willing to join you in working on it: communities of purpose."

"Join them, support them, contribute to them, [and] provide for them. They were always there, [and] the platform organization's role is to discover and introduce them."  

Cushman says he's been writing about platform organizations for some time but has "never stopped to pull the essentials together." While he's done that here, he's really only opened the subject to creative consideration.

It's definitely worth pondering, however. 



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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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