Community change creates tension. Those doing great work at the grassroots level (including entrepreneurs, artists, community organizers and others) sometimes see things differently than those doing great work in more formal leadership roles and structures (such as large institutions and networks that control resources and possess built-in social capital).
Often, disagreements over priorities and over control of scarce resources sow division and retrenchment. But it doesn't have to be that way. In successful ecosystems, people find ways to overcome parochial differences and connect across traditional hierarchies. Together, they build diverse networks of mutually advantageous relationships.
Bridge social boundaries.
The central element of a thriving ecosystem is a culture of trust, collaboration and mutual gain. A divided community with a culture of mistrust doesn't work. The key to building a thriving ecosystem is to connect a community across all its social boundaries: bottom-up, top-down and outside-in. Ecosystem builders must seek opportunities for different groups in the community to come together, learn each others' stories and work together.
Build tribes of trust.
Ecosystem builders need to construct new tribes out of old divisions. The people often seen "at the top" have huge power to leverage existing trust networks and help those "at the bottom" succeed. They can open doors to customers, investors, or other mission-critical help for entrepreneurs. These entrepreneurs, in turn, bring fresh ideas and new energy to communities when they are given a seat at the table. Ecosystem builders need to find ways to bring these two groups together, help them get to know each other, and watch how each can inspire and help the other.
Build social feedback loops.
Creating stronger tribes accelerates the flow of information and enhances social feedback loops, the mechanisms that communities use to reward good behavior and penalize bad behavior transparently. Ideas will flow faster. People will be more accountable to each other. Good actors and bad actors will be quickly called out. And as a result, entrepreneurs will be more likely to succeed.
How have you brought together the formal leadership of your community with the entrepreneurs, inventors and creatives that need their help? How have you helped them get to know each other?
How have you helped these groups collaborate to build the community of entrepreneurs, increase the level of talent or improve the community's culture?
How have you encouraged leaders to share relationships and information that will help entrepreneurs?