At Maddie Grant’s blog suggestion this morning I watched a talk by David Gray called The Connected Company. I can’t begin to break down everything he talks about in the half hour video (nor do I want to, he does a far better job explaining the concept than my cliff notes-style synopsis could give you) but one point struck me as important to member-based organizations – the concept of co-evolution. As Dave describes things do not evolve in a vacuum; they evolve jointly, one affects the other, a ripple in the pond idea. Take, for instance, a computer. As computer operating systems evolve so does the software. Many of us have been on the losing end of that when we upgrade our systems we must also upgrade our software. (Pretty sure we’d be hard pressed to find a current computer out there that could make use of my beloved floppy disks.) But as these computers and software evolve, so must the apps, game consoles and companies that provide services or technology that use them. Nothing evolves in isolation.
The same is true of the member-based organization. With member expectations changing, services, dues structure and offerings must evolve as well. We’ve written many times about reevaluating goals and strategies but maybe a talk of evolution is in order as well. What around you has changed since your current process was created? What are your members doing today that they weren’t doing five years ago? If your thoughts turn to things like mobile and self-networking through platforms like LinkedIn, you’re on the right track. Evolution doesn’t happen in isolation so you don’t want to plan for the future by thinking only of your organization.