Juts like making a really tasty cake – we need the right ingredients
Blend the ingredients
Barn raising as a method of providing construction labour had become rare by the close of the 19th century. By that time, most frontier communities already had barns and those that did not were constructing them using hired labour. Mennonite and Amish communities carried on the tradition, however, and continue to do so to this day.
Professional networks (Communities of Practice) have been around for hundreds of years. It’s only recently that we have rediscovered how they can support knowledge sharing in virtual environments.
Over 800 Worshipful Companies (networks of professional artisans) - currently active in London.
Quote by Steve Dale (but too modest to say so on the slide!)
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.
Most users are familiar with distribution lists – e.g. newsletters and e-bulletins. In fact over 30,000 local government employees subscribe to the IDeA e-bulletin. There were also users familiar with using forums – the IDeA web site supports a large number of fairly active forums. But these are not ‘communities of practice’. Certainly there was an element of collaboration using the forums, but there was no concept of trust or transparency, and no access to a common (domain-specific) library of material. The website itself was designed as a broadcast medium (Web1.0) and not as a resource to enable connections to be made between users. The key to moving forward was to develop a compelling business case that would emphasise the enormous potential that could be gained by encouraging connections with and between users and allowing the conversations to flow. So, it was one final step to developing the concept of a ‘community’, which would encourage greater collaboration through a variety of social networking tools and social media applications. The early adopters – as you will probably guess – are those who were already familiar with forums and maybe even social networking sites (Myspace, Facebook, Flickr etc.)
The major part of this presentation is focused on Communities of Practice (CoPs) – but what are the distinguishing characteristics of a CoP? Arguably the most important characteristic is that members are self-selected, i.e. they are there because they perceive there is some value in being a member of the CoP. They are there because they WANT to be there.
Why bother about purpose? Because without it your community will stall and disintegrate.
The Long Tail by Chris Anderson. www.thelongtail.com Also follows Jacob Nielson’s law of distribution.
It’s tough building online communities and you must encourage those people who contribute.
The practice is a set of frameworks, idea, tools, information, styles, languages, stories and documents that community members share in order to be effective in their domain of knowledge.
Member agreement on knowledge needs is key to stimulating participation. The community must have a shared understanding about what knowledge it needs in the community of practice. Although the proceeding analyses identified needed knowledge, skills, and information , it is wise to build consensus around which KSIs are most critical to community members. The community should prioritise its knowledge needs.
Helping needs Where members help each other to solve day-to-day issues and experts can be invited in to help . connecting people building trust creating a forum to support requests for help and assistance creating an environment to share, assess value and disseminate good ideas creating self-help functions accelerating collaboration across organisations or a specialism strengthening networks and improving employee relations facilitating professional peer learning and drawing from expert knowledge and experience Best practice needs Where developing and disseminating best practice, guidelines and procedures issued to provide instant access to validated and up to date knowledge and information increasing exchange of lessons learnt and good practice seeking new understanding of developments and implementations collaborating to develop, consult and validate practice publishing and disseminating specific practices verifying effectiveness and benefit of practice accelerating the speed of quality decision making and implementation of best practice Achieve higher standards in projects, strategies and improving outcomes enlisting leading experts Knowledge Stewarding needs Where there is a need to organise , manage and steward a body of knowledge from which members can draw. creating a shared understanding of issues providing instant access to knowledge and information in an organised and intuitive way accessing collective and vetted knowledge that is managed, summarised and up to date bring together timely and relevant knowledge and information providing quick and easy access to up to date news, publications, websites and practice in one place increasing opportunities for self-help and personal development collaborating to increase the productivity of ideas and knowledge helping with leadership issues Innovation needs Where the creation of breakthrough ideas, knowledge and practices is paramount creating a safe and trusted environment where innovation can take place supporting creative, experimental, multi-disciplinary and cross boundary working sharing and developing expert knowledge and thinkingdeveloping innovative practices accelerating the rate of innovation through sharing and testing out ideas providing opportunities to approach and work with new technologies, new business and new approaches providing channels to support the development of new ideas and ways of working sharing warnings and deciphering trends
Story of the stone soup?
From KIN Benchmarking Report - 52 CoP’s surveyed - Measured CoP’s impact on: Individual - Performance - Learning & Knowledge Sharing - Motivation & Commitment Organisational (Team/Department/BU) - Performance - Learning & Knowledge Sharing
The practice is a set of frameworks, idea, tools, information, styles, languages, stories and documents that community members share in order to be effective in their domain of knowledge.
This presentation draws on the practical experience of communities of practice working in UK local government and will aim to answer the elusive ‘value’ question.
And the need for CoPs that join up LA's
IDeA Services Local partnerships leading communities Children’s adult social care and public health Efficiency and vfm Workforce development Equalities and cohesion Direct support to councils Peer working Online support Leadership programmes Beacons and innovation
The Community Hub page – aggregation of content from the other 900+ communities
How healthy are these communities? How do you track and measure their health? If some are healthier than others why do you think that is? What is teh difference between IDeA involvement and not? Is there a link there to healthiness? End of phase 3 Technology 0.5 Million. IBM Websphere Code J2EE
Know who your contributors are – and look after them! Observers (some call them ‘lurkers’) are still valuable members of the community. The fact that they accessing and reading content contributes to the overall dynamics of the community. Inactive users (those who have registered but have not contributed or accessed any content) should be removed. It is necessary to ‘feed’ and weed’ a community in order for it to flourish and grow.
Knowledge flows along existing pathways in organizations. To understand the knowledge flow, find out what the patterns are. Create interventions to create, reinforce, or change the patterns to improve the knowledge flow.
NI14 - Avoidable contact: the average number of customer contacts per resolved request. Government see this as a method of managing ‘demand failure’ by expecting councils to measure both the number of customer contacts and the number of contact requests for a range of services contacted by face-to-face, email, ‘phone or web. MSA – won Top of the CoPs in March 2008 for the highest number of contributions made by its members during the month.
So, if one wants to think of ‘value’ solely in terms of hard cash savings – then online conferences have saved IDeA over £80,000 in 2009 (10 conferences x £8000). But, as mentioned previously, it is wrong to confuse ‘costs’ with ‘value’. The real value comes from the learning and sharing opportunities provided by the on-line conference. There are also far more effective networking opportunities provided in a virtual (on-line) environment, where posted comments (in forums, blogs etc.) can reach a far wider audience.
How much simpler and efficient is it to have one copy of a document that everyone can view and edit than having multiple copies of a document which someone must then manually reconcile into one master version? Wikis were designed with collaboration in mind.
- 52 CoP’s surveyed - Measured CoP’s impact on: Individual - Performance - Learning & Knowledge Sharing - Motivation & Commitment Organisational (Team/Department/BU) - Performance - Learning & Knowledge Sharing
It is also noted that aggregating quantitative metrics does not provide evidence of either success or failure of a CoP. For example, we need to understand: The original purpose and intended outcomes of the community . Some will be light on discussion and strong on shared document building and vice versa. Others will be ‘one-shot’ supporting a single challenge. 2. The rhythm or cycle of the community . Not all communities will be a hive of activity, some will support its participants at a low level of interaction over a long period, others for short bursts around face-to-face-meetings or events. 3. The quality of the interactions and/or the viewings it attracts. An online community may be composed of lengthy, high quality, position statements or case-studies with relatively little discussion. Others, equally valid, may be filled with chit-chat and gossip, sharing experience in a way that provides moral support for isolated individuals. So any measure of success is likely to be a mix of qualitative and quantitative data. But managers want to know if these communities are successful, or are they just an excuse to waste time chatting (and this is where bad press on social networking sites such as MySpace, Bebo or Facebook doesn’t help). We have tried to avoid interfering with the way that the CoPs are being run, particularly in the sense of setting targets and timescales. The more informed managers are aware that traditional command and control processes do not work for CoPs, and that instilling corporate processes on largely free-wheeling communities is likely to stifle and inhibit innovation and learning. However, there is a cost in keeping this technology and support infrastructure going, and it is reasonable to expect questions from senior managers on what the benefits are and what the ROI is. It remains something of a conundrum on how best to respond to these questions in a way that will give senior managers the confidence to maintain investment.
Targets such as a 40% contribution rate
Know when to relinquish control – let the community find its own direction and set it’s own objectives.
Creativity and original thinking will drive change. But remember, not all change is good!
Mention handouts (IDeA cards).
Cultivating knowledge through co ps may 2010
Steve Dale Director Semantix (UK) Ltd Congreso Internacional EDO 2010
Who am I? An evangelist and practitioner in the use of Web 2.0 technologies and Social Media applications to support personal self-development and knowledge sharing. Steve was the business lead and information architect for the community of practice platform currently deployed across the UK local government sector, the largest professional network of its type, and continues to play a key role in the support of virtual communities of practice for value creation in public services. Stephen Dale (Steve)
What I will cover <ul><li>What is a ‘Community of Practice’ (CoP)? </li></ul><ul><li>Moving from conversations to collaboration </li></ul><ul><li>Community culture and behaviours </li></ul><ul><li>What makes a successful community? </li></ul><ul><li>CoPs in UK Local Government </li></ul><ul><li>Measuring success and ROI </li></ul><ul><li>Lessons Learnt </li></ul>
Why have a Community of Practice? <ul><li>“ CoPs are not about bringing knowledge into the organisation but about helping to grow the knowledge that we need internally within our organisations.” </li></ul>
Communities of Practice <ul><li>puts you in touch with like-minded colleagues and peers </li></ul><ul><li>allows you to share your experiences and learn from others </li></ul><ul><li>allows you to collaborate and achieve common outcomes </li></ul><ul><li>accelerates your learning </li></ul><ul><li>validates and builds on existing knowledge and good practice </li></ul><ul><li>provides the opportunity to innovate and create new ideas </li></ul>
What is a ? Evolving from conversations to collaboration
Degrees of Transparency and Trust Join our list Join our forum Join our community Increasing collaboration and transparency of process
Collaborative Working – some distinctions KIN, Warwick Business School 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
Why does a person engage with a Community of Practice? <ul><li>Attractive purpose grabs and retains attention </li></ul><ul><li>Perceived benefits: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Socialisation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Co-learning, knowledge sharing and co-production </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Each person chooses to be a member </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Volition </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Joining in – and leaving ! </li></ul></ul>
Levels of engagement Level of engagement Type of engagement Browse, search, learn (Anonymously) Comment (with attribution) Ask a question (with attribution) Write a blog Become a mentor Become an expert Register Comment (Anonymously) Waxing and Waning Interest
Patterns of contribution Ref: Jacob Nielson http://www.useit.com/alertbox/participation_inequality.html Number of participants Number of contributions 1% active contributors 9% occasional contributors 90% readers (aka ‘lurkers’) The 1-9-90 rule
The “1% Rule” <ul><li>For every 100 people online only 1 person will create content and 10 will “interact” with it. The other 89 will just view it. </li></ul><ul><li>Each day at YouTube there are 100 million downloads and 65,000 uploads </li></ul><ul><li>50% of all Wikipedia article edits are done by 0.7% of users, and more than 70% of all articles have been written by just 1.8% of all users </li></ul><ul><li>In Yahoo Groups, 1% of the user population might start a group; 10% of the user population might participate actively. 100% of the user population benefits from the activities of the above groups </li></ul><ul><li>Source: The Guardian </li></ul>The important message is: look after your content creators!
But have we forgotten how to have conversations?
Is this what we asked for or what managers think we need?
Group Collaboration <ul><li>Conversation is NOT : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Discussion, deliberation, negotiation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Committee, team, task or working group </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Majority wins, minority dominance, groupthink </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Conversation IS : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Free-flowing exchange of ideas among equals </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>All ideas are solicited and are considered </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Best ideas rise to the top </li></ul></ul>Cass R Sunstein, 2006
Understanding your community: Culture and Behaviours
It’s more about the people than the technology
Community Type <ul><li>Helping Communities provide a forum for community members to help each other with everyday work needs. </li></ul><ul><li>Best Practice Communities develop and disseminate best practices, guidelines, and procedures for their members use. </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge Stewarding Communities organise, manage, and steward a body of knowledge from which community members can draw. </li></ul><ul><li>Innovation Communities create breakthrough ideas, new knowledge, and new practices. </li></ul>
Understanding your Community Helping Communities Best Practice Communities Knowledge Stewarding Communities Innovation Communities Drivers <ul><li>Lower cost through reuse </li></ul><ul><li>Social responsibility </li></ul><ul><li>Lower cost through standardisation </li></ul><ul><li>Consistency of project </li></ul><ul><li>Improves outcomes </li></ul><ul><li>Professional development </li></ul><ul><li>Tracks shifting marketing trends </li></ul><ul><li>Regulation and legislation </li></ul>Activities <ul><li>Connecting members </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge who’s who </li></ul><ul><li>Collecting, </li></ul><ul><li>Vetting </li></ul><ul><li>Publishing </li></ul><ul><li>Enlisting leading experts </li></ul><ul><li>Manage content </li></ul><ul><li>Decipher trends </li></ul><ul><li>Share insights </li></ul><ul><li>Development of Policy </li></ul>Structure and roles <ul><li>Problem solving </li></ul><ul><li>Sub committees </li></ul><ul><li>Index and store Best practice </li></ul><ul><li>Publishing </li></ul><ul><li>Task force </li></ul><ul><li>Domain experts </li></ul><ul><li>Sub-committees </li></ul>Reward for participation <ul><li>Sense of belonging </li></ul><ul><li>Assistance to daily work </li></ul><ul><li>Desire for improvement </li></ul><ul><li>Passion for the topic </li></ul><ul><li>Professional development </li></ul><ul><li>Job responsibility to detect emerging trends </li></ul>Knowledge <ul><li>Tacit - high socialisation </li></ul><ul><li>Low tacit </li></ul><ul><li>Explicit to explore </li></ul><ul><li>Tacit to explicit </li></ul><ul><li>Tacit to tacit </li></ul><ul><li>Explicit to tacit. </li></ul>
Community Roles and Responsibilities <ul><li>Champion/Sponsor is able to envision the services of a CoP over time, and should have a sense of how the CoP can interact across the organisation </li></ul><ul><li>Facilitator/Coordinator consulting, connecting, facilitating, helping, guiding. </li></ul><ul><li>Leader serves an integral role in the community's success by energising the sharing process and providing continuous nourishment for the community </li></ul><ul><li>Librarian organises information/data (may be part of Facilitator/Coordinator role). </li></ul><ul><li>Technical Steward understands business needs and ensure the appropriate tools are available to meet these needs. </li></ul><ul><li>Experts are the subject matter specialists </li></ul><ul><li>Members/Participants without these there is no community; the essence of a community is its members. </li></ul>
Members of an active community occasional transactional peripheral active facilitator core group lurkers leaders outsiders experts beginners
Your community’s life-cycle From: Cultivating Communities of Practice by Wenger, McDermot and Snyder Plan Start-up Grow Sustain/Renew Close Level of energy and visibility Time Discover/ imagine Incubate/ deliver value Focus/ expand Ownership/ openness Let go/ remember
The community will go through cycles of activity Activity
What makes a successful CoP? <ul><li>clear purpose – what will it be used to do? </li></ul><ul><li>creating a safe and trusted environment </li></ul><ul><li>committed core group of active participants </li></ul><ul><li>being motivated </li></ul><ul><li>knowing the needs of participants </li></ul><ul><li>having a clear action plan with activities to meet needs </li></ul><ul><li>blending face-to-face and online activities </li></ul><ul><li>This can all be achieved by good, active facilitation </li></ul>
Facilitators’ (Coordinators, Moderators) responsibilities <ul><li>Facilitation and Coordination of a CoP includes: </li></ul><ul><li>monitoring activity </li></ul><ul><li>encouraging participation (facilitation techniques) </li></ul><ul><li>producing an action plan </li></ul><ul><li>reporting CoP activity – metrics, evaluations </li></ul><ul><li>monitoring success criteria and impact </li></ul><ul><li>managing CoP events </li></ul>
A Facilitator/Coordinator cultivates the community
Facilitating online - the challenges <ul><li>designing the right mix of online and off-line activities ('blended learning') </li></ul><ul><li>catering for different learning styles and needs </li></ul><ul><li>learning to become a 'guide' or 'facilitator' </li></ul><ul><li>dealing with administrative, technical issues and support requirements, and issues of time </li></ul><ul><li>avoiding the dangers of misinterpretation of text </li></ul><ul><li>finding the right voice </li></ul><ul><li>standing back, and allowing members to discover the power </li></ul>
ACTIVITY: WHAT ARE THE ATTRIBUTES OF A GOOD FACILITATOR?
Nine steps to a successful CoP <ul><li>Provide significant funding for face-to-face events </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure community activities address business issues </li></ul><ul><li>Provide CoP facilitator training </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure CoP facilitators are given sufficient time for their role </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure high levels of sponsor expectation </li></ul><ul><li>Engage members in developing good practice </li></ul><ul><li>Improve the usefulness of Tools provided </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure there are clearly stated goals </li></ul><ul><li>Promote CoPs ability to help employee’s solve daily work challenges </li></ul>Source: Knowledge & Innovation Network, Warwick Business School
Communities of Practice in UK Local Government www.communities.idea.gov.uk
There is a growing recognition but not yet a consensus about integrating Community of Practice (CoP)-style working in the everyday practice of public sector programmes and services.
About UK Local Government <ul><li>Local government in England and Wales employs a workforce of 2.1 million people across 397 local authorities. </li></ul><ul><li>Each authority is working to deliver the same 700 services to their residents. </li></ul><ul><li>Has an annual operating budget of over £106 billion ($177 billion) for delivering services. </li></ul>
Background to the IDeA <ul><li>Set up in 1999 by and for local government </li></ul><ul><li>Owned by the Local Government Association </li></ul><ul><li>Accountable through a stakeholder board </li></ul><ul><li>Working for local government improvement so councils can serve people and places better </li></ul><ul><li>Learning what works and helping the councils and their partners help each other improve </li></ul>
Building an environment to support collaborative working Find and connect with experts Find and connect with your peers Threaded discussion forums, wikis, blogs, document repository News feeds Event calendar News and Newsletters
Metrics & Measurement <ul><li>Identify Business Objectives </li></ul><ul><li>Decide on Priorities </li></ul><ul><li>Choose What to Measure & Tools </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Quantitative </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Qualitative </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Benchmark </li></ul><ul><li>Identifying Trends </li></ul>
IDeA CoP Membership and communities <ul><li>Over 57,000 registered members </li></ul><ul><li>Over 1000 communities </li></ul><ul><li>Average membership of a community is 50 </li></ul><ul><li>Highest membership of a community is over 1800 </li></ul><ul><li>Over 2700 members are contributing. </li></ul><ul><li>Average of over 16,000 visits per month. </li></ul><ul><li>Average of over 1000 contributions per month. </li></ul>
Understanding the community profile Observers Power Contributors Contributors Inactive
Network maps provide insight and prompt questions “ I frequently or very frequently receive information from this person that I need to do my job .” Hutchinson Associates 2005
Successful CoPs – Measuring Outcomes <ul><li>Mapping Services Agreement (535 members) – joint procurement strategy on target for achieving savings of over £100m over 4 years. </li></ul><ul><li>NI14 Avoidable Contact (631 members) – highly active online conferences </li></ul><ul><li>Policy and Performance (1785 members) – Producing joint policy briefings </li></ul><ul><li>Projects and Programme Management (356 members)– Consistent contract templates developed for all local authorities. </li></ul>
Measuring Return on Investment <ul><li>Cost of one face to face conference: </li></ul><ul><li>100 people attending an event in London </li></ul><ul><li>£5000/EUR 5,800 for rooms + lunch </li></ul><ul><li>£30/EUR 58 per person return train travel from a central England venue (Birmingham). </li></ul><ul><li>One face-to-face conference would cost £8000/EUR 9,300 </li></ul><ul><li>Cost of an on-line conference is virtually £0/EUR 0. There have been over 15 on-line conferences facilitated by IDeA so far. </li></ul>
What is the value to the individual Ask the CoP members ….
Keeping up to date with current thinking <ul><li>“ The site is a good way to check things being released by government or to look up something you may have missed, it’s an extra safety net. I always go on at least a couple of times a week to keep my eyes open to the issues and make sure we’re pointing in the right direction.” </li></ul><ul><li>Tristan Hardman-Dodd, Policy Officer, Sandwell Borough Council </li></ul>
Innovations <ul><li>“ Many of the online groups that we set up on the site either reflected new projects or were new groups working on a new priority that wasn’t covered under the business unit or structure. So for our change groups for example, it was a place for those new projects and communities to have a home.” </li></ul><ul><li>Noel Hatch, Projects and Research Lead, Innovation Unit, Kent County Council. </li></ul>
Sharing Good Practice / avoiding duplication of work <ul><li>“ I was scanning the website and I happened to come across work by colleagues in Barnet on diversity monitoring, which means you can profile your users to make sure you’re not providing services that aren’t needed.” </li></ul><ul><li>Dennis Bartholomew, Senior Policy Manager (equalities), London Borough of Sutton . </li></ul>
Relationship Building <ul><li>“ The thing about CoPs is the discussions and ideas that go on,” he adds, “it’s like having an ongoing network of contacts, and that was difficult to do before.” </li></ul><ul><li>Pete Thomson, business architect, Wolverhampton City Council </li></ul>
Benchmarking Source: Knowledge & Innovation Network, Warwick Business School
Metrics <ul><li>Don’t rely on metrics to claim your community is successful. </li></ul><ul><li>Use metrics and indicators to understand your community better. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t let your managers turn indicators into targets! </li></ul>A chicken doesn’t get fatter the more you weigh it!
Top Tips. <ul><li>..identify and look after your facilitators – they are quite often the difference between successful and unsuccessful communities </li></ul><ul><li>..let users drive their own experimentation and use of tools. </li></ul><ul><li>..target and support areas that have a clear desire and need. </li></ul><ul><li>..build trust and relationships face to face where possible. </li></ul><ul><li>..condition your managers for failure – not every CoP is going to be successful. </li></ul><ul><li>..use online conferences and ‘Hot Seats’ to build membership growth and encourage conversations. </li></ul>Do….
Don’t.... <ul><li>..think you can force people to collaborate </li></ul><ul><li>..assume everyone understands how to use Web2.0/social media tools. </li></ul><ul><li>..assume everyone knows how to contribute. </li></ul><ul><li>..worry about the ‘lurkers’. </li></ul><ul><li>..let command, control or hierarchy hamper or kill your community </li></ul><ul><li>..set unrealistic targets </li></ul>Top Tips.
Recommended Reading <ul><li>Cluetrain Manifesto – David Weinberger </li></ul><ul><li>Cultivating Communities of Practice – Etienne Wenger, Richard McDermot, William Snyder . </li></ul><ul><li>Community, Economic Creativity and Organization – Ash Amin, Joanne Roberts </li></ul><ul><li>Here Comes Everybody – Clay Shirky </li></ul><ul><li>Groundswell – Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff </li></ul><ul><li>Tribes – Seth Godin </li></ul>
"If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you got." Albert Einstein, 1879-1955 Evolution of Knowledge