Closing our _connect networking groups
We communications folk at Innovate UK don’t get much of a look in when it comes to our own blog but that’s how it should be. We created the blog to talk about our customers, our partners and to deliver the widest possible view of innovation, not to talk about ourselves.
However sometimes we do want to share some of the changes that are going on behind the scenes and the closure of our _connect networking groups is one of those things.
What is _connect?
Quite a few years ago Innovate UK felt a need existed to create an online place where companies and individuals could get together to collaborate, learn, discover events and share insights. Out of this need was born _connect – think of it as a dedicated innovation social media community.
Part of the architecture of this platform was networking groups – based around industry sectors, individual industries, select projects or any subject that people wanted to draw other like-minded individuals towards.
But times change and we need to change with them
While the groups performed well in creating the links that facilitate knowledge sharing and collaboration the world of social media moves fast. That initial need that led to creation of _connect remains but many other platforms now meet those needs and we decided to survey our customers, and our own people, to find out if _connect had a future.
‘‘I use other channels these days’’
Our research told us that our customers used a range of social media channels from LinkedIn to Facebook to specialist forums to meet their networking needs. As a result, the value of _connect was clearly in decline and to maintain it further would have delivered a decreasing level of value to our customers. It made sense to go where our customers go.
Closing _connect groups and opening LinkedIn groups
From the 1/2/17 we will be closing all the networking groups and focusing our efforts on building online communities via LinkedIn. We’ve always had a presence on LinkedIn but splitting our efforts between _connect and LinkedIn meant that neither received as much love as they might have done.
Our network partner, KTN, has created a series of LinkedIn groups which cover each of our main thematic areas and you can find a link to each of these groups below:
- Energy at KTN
- Aerospace at KTN
- Space at KTN
- Transport at KTN
- Advanced Materials at KTN
- Electronics, Sensors, Photonics at KTN
- Bioscience & Biotechnology at KTN
- Built Environment at KTN
- Sustainability & Resource Efficiency at KTN
- Creative, Digital & Design at KTN
- The Internet of Things (IoT) at KTN
- Manufacturing at KTN
- Health at KTN
- Chemistry at KTN
What isn’t changing? (yet)
Well _connect as a platform will still be there and you will still use it to create the profile you need to enter one of our competitions.
The closure of the networking groups will not affect any competition submissions. The claims and monitoring dashboards for live projects will also remain.
What do I need to do?
Well we’d love you to join the above LinkedIn groups but, more than that, we’d like you to visit any _connect groups you belong to and claim any of the content/document’s you may have posted to your groups if it is still of value to you.
Once we shut the groups (1/2/17) that content will disappear into the matrix so we are keen users grab anything they posted that still has value to them.
Updates and reminders
We will be posting message updates on the _connect platform, via email and via our social channels between now and 1/2/17. We know that taking the time to visit old groups is rarely a priority for anyone and so we are trying to provide gentle reminders over the next few months.
It would be churlish not to take this opportunity to say thank you to everyone who has run a group, posted a comment or simply found value from the _connect groups. No social media channel has a right to exist forever and now is a good time for us to recognise that.
We hope you find a more vibrant, active and valuable community via the LinkedIn groups that we the KTN and ourselves have created.
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