When the artists got together to record this video to support Haiti, they had one common vision and mission grounded in the values that underpin humanity. Because of that commonality, they became a tribe. The common charter allowed each individual to contribute while retaining a unique voice.
The result is a powerful blend of humanity. The diversity in and of itself a strength of expression, not unlike what organizations that are serious about becoming a connected company would want to achieve. Are loyal customer tribes the result of a company connected on the inside?
The video prompted me to think about why is it then that in many organizations alignment and common purpose mean giving up individual creativity and voice -- becoming in fact bland vs. blended. Would that be the case in an organization like Apple, where all the creativity and voice is poured into the product line and not visible as active employee participation in social media?
Is the iPhone a 'tribe' already, and is it also based on 'personal freedom'? Or does it just have lots of fans? And is there a difference?
Apple products are anything but bland. I don't have visibility into the organization's culture, however I do know that the company inspires a loyal following of brand evangelists. My take is that the iPhone has a broad fan base, and not a tribe. Yet, as I watch the video linked above, I'm reminded that one common vision with many voices / expressions works.
Is a tribe the same as a community? I've seen the terms used interchangeably. A community has been defined as a group of interacting people living in a common location. In human terms, a community has shared resources, needs, risks, preferences, intent, and beliefs that affect the identity of the participants and their degree of cohesiveness.
Which is in turn different from a network -- an interconnected group or system. So it shares connections and may not share intent and all the other things that make community. Think for example about Facebook -- within the social network, there are many communities.
What do you think? Is the iPhone's loyal fan base a tribe?
© 2010 Valeria Maltoni. All rights reserved.