The Morris County Economic Development recently hosted it annual Growth and Innovation Forum where business leaders came together to learn about the latest developments in Innovation strategies throughout the region. The keynote speaker was John Stecher, the Chief Innovation Officer of Barclays Capital. Also taking the stage was Aaron Price, Founder & CEO of Propelify, a virtual community of entrepreneurs, technologists and innovators.  An interesting theme of all presentations and discussions was how important a sense of community is to both successful innovation and technological advancement.

Building a startup community mindset, even if it is within a large corporation is hard, intentional work.  But doing so will lead to an innovative, vibrant culture that becomes a hot bed for attracting top talent employees.

Here are the 4 ‘C’s of successful community building within your organization:

  1. Celebration: When innovating new ideas or technologies, hard work that is often thankless is required. It’s important to create a community wide culture that celebrates all success, no matter how small they may seem.  This is an important employee motivator that doesn’t cost anything!
  2. Connection: Real connection is required and that extends beyond the virtual one.  Make sure there is ample time for play after all the work.  This is why you see so many Google type companies have lounge areas and fuze ball.  Even if you can’t emulate that, there are small things you can do to connect employees and assure that there is fun mixed into the work week.
  3. Convene: Open workspaces that are comfortable and functional do more to increase a feeling of community than one might think.  When people feel good about where they spend their day, they perform better and are more creative.
  4. Collaboration: When everyone feels that they have a say and that their opinions matter, they trust the people that they work with and feel vested in outcomes and goals. This is a key ingredient in building a thriving work community.

Post in the comments below what you do to make your own community at work.