Every year, Refe Tuma and his wife Susan devote the month of November to convincing their children that, while they sleep, their plastic dinosaur figures come to life. This small experiment in reconnecting with their children illustrated the power of delivering meaningful experiences.
As Refe explains, community cannot be forced. Think of the worst networking event you’ve ever attended: it had nothing to do with community. Community occurs organically when people rally around an experience. Once the community has formed there are a few principles to follow to ensure that it can thrive:
- Credits before debits: every action will either strengthen or cost the community. Understand this and act accordingly.
- Give the community ownership: once formed, the community may take on a life of its own. Everyone needs the opportunity to take something from the community and make it their own. This also means that each member needs to create a meaningful experience to leave behind.
- Have fun: fun demands to be spread. Nobody laughs at something and hides it away for themselves. But fun is fleeting. Today’s delight is tomorrow’s expectation.
So go create an experience, and share it. Community may find you, and the experience will be better for it.
Watch Refe’s session from the Delight Conference above to hear more about how Dinovember fostered a thriving community.
Dinovember has since gone on to become an international celebration of imagination and creativity that has inspired participants in London, Sydney, Beirut, Oslo, and many other cities across the world. What the Dinosaurs Did Last Night, Refe and Susan’s new book of photos based on Dinovember, will be published this fall by Little, Brown and Co.
Refe Tuma works as an experience designer with DST Systems, creating mobile applications for the health and financial industries. He is also a Best of the Net and Pushcart Prize nominated writer whose work has appeared in the New York Times, Huffington Post, and various literary magazines. Refe lives in Kansas City, MO with his family and a growing herd of plastic dinosaurs. You can find him on Twitter @RefeUp, and at Facebook.com/Dinovember.