Developing & sustaining communities of practice


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A presentation I gave to iKlub members in Bangkok, Thailand on 13th September 2013

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Developing & sustaining communities of practice

  1. 1. Designing & Sustaining Communities of Practice Eric Tsui KMIRC HKPolyU
  2. 2. Agenda 1. Knowledge Management and Communities 2. The community concept 3. Types of communities 4. The Community Lifecycle 5. Myths about communities 6. Q&A
  3. 3. Nancy M. Dixon’s 3 eras of KM (Replay Webinar at
  4. 4. Is this a community?
  5. 5. Is this a community?
  6. 6. Is a school a community?
  7. 7. A Community of Practice is a network of individuals with common problems or interests who get together to explore ways of working, identify common solutions, and share good practice and ideas. • puts you in touch with like-minded colleagues and peers • allows you to share your experiences and learn from others • allows you to collaborate and achieve common outcomes • accelerates your learning • validates and builds on existing knowledge and good practice • provides the opportunity to innovate and create new ideas Communities of Practice
  8. 8. Campfire – Warmth of a community
  9. 9. A power resource view of a Community “Coal & Oil for a community” A well defined domain, a passionate group of core members, trust, supported by an appropriate structure and/or tools “Water for a community” Events/Activities, Problem Solving, Q&A, Peer Assist, Rewards & Recognition A governance model Support Top management and Grass-roots support “Windmills for a community” Leverage on what’s available & sometimes you create a new … Trees Outcome of reification by the community
  10. 10. Major elements of a community • Domain • Community (Members) • Practice
  11. 11. Members in a community occasional transactional peripheral active facilitator core group lurkers leaders outsiders experts beginners
  12. 12. What can CoPs Do? • Facilitate collaboration • Answer specific questions via Subject Matter Expert • Filter out incorrect information by peer group • Capture institutional knowledge and reuse it • Prevent re-inventing wheels by sharing knowledge • Share successful (best) practices
  13. 13. Common purposes of a community 1. Helping communities: members help each other solve everyday questions & problems 2. Best-practice communities: collate, evaluate, validate & disseminate best practices 3. Knowledge-stewarding communities: map, collect & organize knowledge and information assets for use by their members 4. Innovation communities: deliberately combine expertise from different domains to explore new areas & cutting edge topics
  14. 14. Knowledge Effectiveness for various types of communities
  15. 15. Purpose Members Adhesive Duration Formal work group To deliver a product or service Employees who reports to the group’s manager Job requirements and org structure Until organisational restructuring Project team To accomplish a task Employees assigned by senior management Project milestones and goals Until project completion Social networks To collect and pass on information Friends and acquaintances Mutual needs and interests As long as people have a reason to connect Community of Practice To develop members’ capabilities; to build and exchange knowledge Members who select themselves Passion, commitment and identification with the group’s expertise As long as there is interest in maintaining the group Work group descriptions
  16. 16. Community barriers • Entrance barrier • Exit barrier
  17. 17. CoPs communications update & COP Wave by MTR
  18. 18. Site visits organised by CoPs in MTR
  19. 19. Badge of Honor for community members
  20. 20. Designing & Sustaining Communities of Practice Eric Tsui KMIRC HKPolyU Designing & Sustaining Communities of Practice
  21. 21. Ways to sustain a community • Analyse the community ecosystem • Know how to measure the sense of a community • Avoid competition and maintain a niche for your community • Develop a community strategy and know your community lifecycle • Facilitate/Moderate your community discussions • …
  22. 22. Myths of communities • CoPs are always virtual • Establish them and people will join and share • Closely align the community with organizational structure • CoPs do not need corporate sponsorship • CoPs always need substantial investments • CoPs are “unofficial” networks in an organization • CoPs should always continue with the chosen/original “domain” • Idled discussions, hence the CoP is useless • Everyone is a contributor in a CoP • …
  23. 23. Designing & Sustaining Communities of Practice Eric Tsui KMIRC HKPolyU