UK Web Focus

Innovation and best practices for the Web

Archive for May 27th, 2009

The Social Web and the Belbin Model

Posted by Brian Kelly (UK Web Focus) on 27 May 2009

I have previously suggested that although I feel that the Social Web has much to offer that doesn’t mean that I would want everyone to have a blog, to Twitter, to record talks and make them freely available on video sharing services. Rather I feel that these approaches should be available to people who wish to exploit their potential, whether in teaching and learning, research or enriching access to scholarly and cultural resources. But who are the people who may be best suited to using Social Web services in this fashion?

A couple of decades ago I took part in a team building workshop during which I was introduced to the Belbin model. On completing the questionnaire on my personal preferences I discovered that I was a plant and a resource investigator. According to Wikipedia these are defined as:

Plants are creative, unorthodox and a generator of ideas. If an innovative solution to a problem is needed, a Plant is a good person to ask. A good plant will be bright and free-thinking. Plants can tend to ignore incidentals and refrain from getting bogged down in detail. The Plant bears a strong resemblance to the popular caricature of the absentminded professor-inventor, and often has a hard time communicating ideas to others.

The Resource Investigator gives a team a rush of enthusiasm at the start of the project by vigorously pursuing contacts and opportunities. He or she is focused outside the team, and has a finger firmly on the pulse of the outside world. Where a Plant creates new ideas, a Resource Investigator will quite happily steal them from other companies or people. A good Resource Investigator is a maker of possibilities and an excellent networker, but has a tendency to lose momentum towards the end of a project and to forget small details.

Are these characteristics still true, I wonder? And do they reflect the way I use Social Web tools, such as this blog? As I defined the role of this blog as an environment to provide  “an opportunity for me to ‘think out loud“: i.e. describe speculative ideas, thoughts which may occur to me, etc. which may be of interest to others or for which I would welcome feedback” I think I have been using the blog to support my preferences as a plant.

I most definitely use the blog to pursue  contacts and opportunities beyond my host institution. And as well as sometimes creating new ideas (such as the holistic approach to Web accessibility) I will also “quite happily steal them from other companies or people” (though I do always try to provide links back to the original ideas, whether in blog posts or even tweets).

Is the Belbin model useful in identifying the characteristics of those who enjoy blogging and micro-blogging, I wonder?

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