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Last updated:  
December 7, 2023

CLF Nov 2023 Debrief: Lessons learned from a community of nuclear power operators

Wilfried Rijsemus


In the short debrief below you will read the outcome of the lessons learned by community manager of the Institute of Nuclear Power Operators community. Read his lessons and results!

As is customary, every last Thursday of the month, our community of community managers gathers online for our engaging meetup known as the Community Leaders Forum. During our latest session, we were fortunate to have Justin Lee from INPO share his insights and experiences in managing an online community for nuclear power operators. He also challenged the audience with 3 questions.

Three Mile Island incident

On March 28, 1979, a nuclear powerplant incident occurred near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, known as the 3-Mile-Island incident. Following this event, the Carter administration took proactive measures by forming the Kemeny Commission. This commission thoroughly investigated the incident and proposed operational enhancements for nuclear power plants. In December 1979, in alignment with the commission's suggestions, INPO was officially established. INPO is entrusted with the crucial role of monitoring and assessing safety standards to ensure the well-being of nuclear power facilities.

The INPO Community

In 2012, the INPO community was launched to support the conversation of approximately 12.000 nuclear powerplant operators in various roles. It is designed to share knowledge and connect people with similar roles to establish and support the use of best practices that will provide an inherently safe operation of a nuclear power plant. They have a typical 15% active audience and an inflow of 1000/year which, by community standards is a healthy environment.

Lessons Learned and Questions

The format of these meetups is always the same. A community manager shares their story and results and then there is a 3 topic ask from the audience.

Lesson 1: Open unless. Be as open as possible and do not have everything private unlisted. The initial approach was too ‘controlled’ and did not yield the anticipated growth. We built it and they didn’t come. We would have had success far earlier had we been more open.

Lesson 2: Set expectations earlier: Help leadership understand the sustained commitment to the program.

Lesson 3: Keep It Simple Stupid. Create groups for which there is demand and weed groups that are no longer in use. There were too many groups that nobody wanted or used.

Question 1: What can you teach me from a community-related mistake you’ve made and/or corrected? The reactions were mixed but clearly showed.

The answers from the CM crew were: Learn and be ready for change! / Get more contributors to the journey with you. / Think about public-private conversations early. Show what people getting into before registering (2x) / Focus on the people, not on the platform. / Focus on member value creation.

Question 2: If you could only pick four reporting metrics for the next year, which four would you choose and how many insights could you derive from them?

Question 3: Etienne Wenger suggests making an effort to focus on the value created by our communities. Have you gained something from doing this? Am I missing something by not focusing on this?

We ran out of time alas on the last two. We will have to do that online in the next session.

So, now you know what went on and also know that you can join these sessions too! Just go here and register or contact me. I’ll make sure your story gets told, heard and that you get answers no matter what your questions are.

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