The Cohere Project:
Exploring the future of human networks.

January 1, 2020:
I’m excited to announce The Cohere Project – a research-based initiative to study, shape and frame a modern approach to human network development.

The Cohere Project has three key components: a quarterly series of primary research projects, the Cohere podcast, and the Community & Crowd Mastermind group.

Bookmark this page for regular updates.

The Cohere Project – Overview

It’s human nature to seek connection, meaning, and knowledge through community. Thanks to the smartphones in our pockets (and the near-global access to broadband), “community” now is very much a digital construct, and the way we find and participate in such gathering places is radically changing. Gone are the days of static bulletin boards and one-dimensional product support forums. Forward-thinking companies understand there’s an unprecedented opportunity that comes from creating dynamic, responsive networks where customers collaborate, build relationships with each other, and access new channels for growth and development. When brands offer rich, complex, social ecosystems that transcend geographical and organizational boundaries, their communities can support every transformational experience throughout the customer journey— and forge a network of relationships that last a lifetime.

We feel human networks will play a central role in the transformation of individuals, organizations and society globally. Rather than look at strategy, tools and methods for community and network development in isolation, the Cohere Project will champion a more holistic and interdisciplinary approach.

Definition of cohere

1a: to hold together firmly as parts of the same mass
2: to hold together as a mass of parts that cohere
3a: to become united in principles, relationships, or interests
b: to be logically or aesthetically consistent

From the Mariam-Webster Dictionary definition for cohere

The Big Idea:

Complex human networks are springing up everywhere, driven in large part by exponential technologies such as AI, automation, and space-based internet. Imagine what will happen when three billion more people come online in the next five years! For organizations, a planet-wide network of logged-on human beings brings both limitless opportunities and unprecedented threats. 

As we increasingly use social technologies to augment human experiences, the Cohere Project asks:

  • What’s the best path forward?
  • How should we navigate, evaluate, and administrate a complex technological landscape so we can protect, promote, and empower our human networks?
  • How will we ensure that digital communities deliver on the promise of enhancing our lives, both individually and collectively?
  • And what steps must we take to ensure our approach to community development is sustainable, democratic, and morally sound?

The Cohere Project is comprised of 3 key components:

  1. Primary Research, including the 2020 AI & Communities research project, and quarterly research themes throughout 2020;
  2. The Community & Crowd Mastermind, an invitation-based network of senior community and customer experience leaders that meets both online and in-person throughout the year;
  3. The Cohere Podcast (details below), launching in January 2020

1. Primary Research

The Cohere Project will undertake quarterly research projects, in conjunction with the agenda the Community & Crowd Mastermind sets, to study key topics, develop new frameworks and offer guidance for developing modern communities and networks. Research summaries will be published publicly and individual participants will receive a copy of the research report.

Our Q1 study, AI & Communities, is currently underway, and is a follow on to our foundational 2018 study framing the topic.

2. The Community & Crowd Mastermind

The Community & Crowd Mastermind is an invitation-based network made of of senior community and customer experience leaders from large brands that meet regularly to share their experiences, solve tough problems and collaborate on a future vision for community development. The Mastermind meets online monthly and in-person twice a year at Summit events. Our 2019 Summit was held at the Salesforce Tower in San Francisco in September and focused on Online Community Advocacy, Leadership and Influencers. Participants represented a range of brands, including IBM, Starbucks, Fitbit and Spotify.

For more information and an application to join the Mastermind, please reach out to

The Community & Crowd Mastermind Summit

3. The Cohere Podcast

The Cohere podcast will be the primary source for information about the project, and intends to :

  • Feature expert guests with deep knowledge and experience with the combinatorial effects of exponential technology and human networks
  • Highlight key trends in community ecosystem development
  • Discuss case studies/success stories of leading human-network brands (i.e., Salesforce) 
  • Examine the emerging business value of networks, communities, and collaboration
  • Analyze previous eras of community and social networking (think: bulletin boards and product support forums) as a framework for future community & network development
  • Provide practical information and guidance for managing human network transformation at scale

How can you be involved?

Our primary research studies will always be publicly announced and we welcome input from community or customer experience leaders working in the enterprise, at a startup or at large non-profits.

If you are a community or customer experience leader and would value collaborating privately with other senior leaders, we have a few seats open for the 2020 Community & Crowd Mastermind.

We are booking podcast guests for the February – March 2020 timeframe. If you have a recommendation for a potential guest, please reach out to

Thank you for being part of this journey with us!

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