Building a Social Innovation Community with Deutsches Rotes Kreuz

Employee Experience Lab Building a Social Innovation Community with Deutsches Rotes Kreuz

Since 2020 we are supporting the central digitalization division of the German Red Cross in their community building process. By now the Social Innovation Community involves around 120+ members, embedded all over the organisation as employees or as volunteers.

Employee Experience Lab Building a Social Innovation Community with Deutsches Rotes Kreuz

How to build an active Community of Practice?

It all starts with why? Why are we here?

We started by crafting a healthy mission statement and defining values by which the community and its members work together with the founding members. From there on, we made sure that all strategic and design efforts, like exchange and learning formats, cater to these goals and embody these values.


Together with members of the community we build learning and engagement formats. We do this by trying out and reflecting critically, evolving the formats, so they don’t just sound fancy on paper but actually work in real virtual life.

Good design starts with good research: that why we crafted personas and user-journeys for the Social Innovation Community. But trying and building forward your ideas is what makes a difference truly stand out. Communities are fuzzy spaces and how formats end up working out can hardly be predicted. We made it a habit of trying it out and then not being afraid to admit that it didn’t work out, when it didn’t work out. Learning theory and communities of practice literature only get you so far, the rest is practice practice practice…and optimism!

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Not only are we conceptualizing about what to do and why…we are also there when the rubber hits the road: community management and to run events and learning formats.

This includes for example a peer-circle format about learning Design Thinking by doing a real-life challenge from the DRK cosmos together, virtually. We also moderated Barcamps together with the team and contribute to documentations and other project groups.


It’s not just about making a community work. For them to prosper they need to be strategically plugged into the organization — without really being part of their structure.

It is a delicate balance for which we develop and maintain stakeholder maps and communication plans to generate legitimacy for the goals, mission and activities of the community. We support the communication efforts like talks, posts and papers.

In-depth links for this project:


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