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This Invention: A Family Content Network

A journal, information and resources for establishing a Family Content Network, as I am doing - essentially a framework for managing all your Family's online assets and inventions for maximum exposure and revenue. This blog began as an inventor's journal, and retains the overall parent inventor's context and mindset.

Friday, September 08, 2006

FCN Roles

This week’s post begins a discussion about roles. For a Family Content Network (FCN) to be successful, there’s a certain art to practice in harnessing, marshalling and persuading your family to operate as a well-managed unit. If you family’s like my family, it certainly doesn’t act like a business, nor might you actually hire everyone. On the other hand, your family members are just as valuable to your FCN as customers, as they might be as true partners. I see the FCN family member profiles as four major types, along two axis: the “activity” axis, and the “subject-matter” axis.

Along the activity axis, your family members range from fully passive to active with respect to helping grow the business. Fully passive members don’t participate at all, or merely stay informed – these can actually be your best “customers”, from the perspective they provide objective feedback and perhaps refer the “business” to other people. Fully active members are typing away, contributing business or technical skills, involved online, and otherwise truly busy.

Along the subject-matter axis, family members range from having nothing really unique, interesting or complimentary to add to the collective knowledgebase (if you’ve got someone like that in your family, you might not have a good enough relationship with them), to persons with deep, valuable expertise.

All types and variations on this role grid are important, though they need to be managed differently. For example, I’ve got a relative who wants to be active but doesn’t understand the Internet, and has very deep subject matter expertise (SME) in several areas. My job here is to facilitate his expression and exposure of his talents and information. Another relative doesn’t seem to have much to contribute, but is fairly active on the Internet – she needs some persuading and complimentary feedback to help coax out the nuggets of content value I know she must have, based on her lifestyle.

Therefore, to effectively understand and manage these roles, your FCN needs a Knowledge Champion. Someone whose role is part coach, part subject classifier, part industry researcher, part knowledge harvester. To be truly effective at harvesting the knowledge, this person must learn to find and extract both tacit and explict knowledge from the family. Tacit knowledge is that which is inside your head, your experiences, your relationships; explicit knowledge is that which is published, listed or otherwise readily obtained. The Knowledge Champion needs to be as much an effective collaborator and communicator, as an effective information manager.

In addition to the Knowledge Champion, other unique FCN roles, outside of the typical business roles, that we’ll explore over future articles include:

 Content Manager;
 Security, Privacy and Intellectual Property advocate;
 Archivist; and
 Communications Specialist.


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