Dakota Resources’ Thriverr Platform Facilitates Collaboration, Community
In his letter to rural shapers at the end of 2021, Dakota Resources President Joe Bartmann had this to say about one big initiative in 2022: launching Thriverr, a platform that will house the Learning Network for years to come.
“2022 will also be a year I think we’ll look back on one day as a major evolutionary leap for our mission. In January, we’re launching Thriverr, our new web-based platform that our Learning Network Program will be built around for years to come. Thriverr will greatly improve the online experience for our current Learning Network members, while also connecting South Dakota’s rural shapers with a world of rural economic development leaders, all of whom will be learning and innovating together. Eventually, Thriverr will also use the power of “Web3” technology to create amazing learning and mentoring opportunities and more for our members. I’m so excited for what’s possible for all of us now.”
Today, we’re checking in with Dakota Resources Learning Network Orchestrator and Community Coach Mike Knutson to share how Thriverr is making relationship-building and collaboration possible. We hope that you enjoy this Q&A!
Q: Congratulations on the launch of Thriverr! Why was it important for Dakota Resources to build out a platform like this?
A: We developed Thriverr because our previous platform, Basecamp, didn’t allow for us to develop private spaces for collaboration, or to break into smaller units based on common attributes, such as job duties or topics of interest.
To us, the purpose of a learning platform is to help users to learn faster together, which involves facilitating action, feedback, and reflection. In the approximately five months since launching Thriverr, we’re excited to see more than 50 participants actively using and posting in Thriverr.
Q: Take us through Thriverr’s capabilities. What does the platform offer currently, and what is the long-term vision for this online space?
A: Thriverr combines the ease of having a centralized location for economic development-related collaboration with a familiar social networking-type of look and feel. Similar to a Facebook Feed, Thriverr features a “Latest Activity” roundup that collects all of the recent posts on the platform’s main page. Participants also have the ability to post events and resources for the benefit of all.
One feature that helps us all to remain focused on our work as rural shapers is the categorization of all contributions to Thriverr. When a participant posts an idea, event, or resource, they select a building block from our Community Blueprint as the category for that post. This categorization allows subscribers to filter content in Thriverr based on their needs. In addition, this helps us to continually reinforce the purpose of the Blueprint, which is to provide a foundation of building blocks for effective rural work.
In the future, one of our initiatives is to expand the reach of Thriverr to include other entities, such as housing agencies and other rural-relevant organizations, and to develop what we’re calling “Hubs.” We really want Thriverr to be a place where people can go to work on things together. The goal is to allow both for private communication within a group-like space and for collaboration in the more public spheres of the platform. We believe there’s additional value to be gleaned from connecting people to other like-minded rural shapers and organizations outside of the state. We also are contemplating how we can build out these “Hubs” to meet the needs of specific participants, such as including additional features like to-do lists for project management.
Q: What’s been Learning Network subscribers’ response to Thriverr?
A: Feedback from participants has been positive. In the initial pilot phase, where we ran a mini-course on board policies to help us beta-test the platform with a small number of participants, we learned that allowing for email notifications was essential to keeping engaged and up-to-date with posting and commenting activity.
In addition, we feel encouraged by the activity we’ve seen ramping up during these first nearly six months. Participants have shared that they’ve felt like the discussion boards and event and resource features in Thriverr feel comfortable for them to engage and communicate with each other. This helps us to know that we’re on the right track as we plan for the future growth of the platform and of the Learning Network as a whole.
TAKE ACTION: Want to learn more about the Dakota Resources’ Learning Network program so that you and your team can see what Thriverr can do to support your work? Click on our website here!