Communities of Practice In The Public Sector


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Explore the development of a CoP strategy from initial concepts through to deployment of what is becoming a de facto standard for networking and collaboration across the public sector. It covers the following key points: 1.Developing a trusted environment in an unbounded network. 2.Overcoming the silo mentality. 3.Leveraging Web 2.0 and social media applications for virtual collaboration. 4.What makes a successful CoP and how is success measured? 5.Breaching the digital divide 6.Lessons learnt.

Published in: Business, Education
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Communities of Practice In The Public Sector

  1. 1. Steve Dale Director Semantix (UK) Ltd 4th December 2008 Communities of Practice in the Public Sector
  2. 2. What I will cover • How social media tools (wikis, blogs etc.) and Web 2.0 technologies can facilitate more effective networking and collaboration across the public sector • How virtual CoPs are delivering innovation and improvement to local government services • What does a successful CoP look like and how is success measured? • Lessons learnt from the IDeA CoP Project
  3. 3. About Local Government • Local government in England and Wales employs a workforce of 2.1 million people across 410 local authorities. • Each authority is working to deliver the same 700 services to their residents. • Has an annual operating budget of over £106 billion for delivering services.
  4. 4. Local government services
  5. 5. About the Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA) • Receives funding from the Revenue Support Grant • Sister organisation of (owned by the Local Government Association) • Works in partnership with councils and regional organisations to provide – Leadership (helping councillors become better leaders) – Enables and supports councils in sharing good practice – Incubator for new ideas for improving service and value across the local government sector.
  6. 6. Project Timeline Sept 05 Apr 06 Sept 06 Dec 07 Nov 08 Business Planning Pilot Launch People Case Various iterations Management team First pilot built on Official launch Over 20,000 people business case to get approval Drupal failed December 2007 registered management backing for KM strategy, Developed and run Assisted in running Ongoing support to 570 Communities including CoPs training for facilitators focus groups with selected communities potential members of at the IDeA through a 109 have IDeA Intensive work with Developed the Pilot communities coaching and involvement stakeholders technology spec for mentoring scheme online platform Introduces a Produced spec for the technology platform to Completion of KM team structure support collaboration application form to set up a community
  7. 7. Step 1 – Know your audience
  8. 8. This is our audience
  9. 9. Step 2: The path to enlightenment Join our list Join our forum Join our community Increasing collaboration and transparency of process
  10. 10. Step 3: A different way of working
  11. 11. A community
  12. 12. A domain of interest Gosport Allotment Holders & Gardeners Association
  13. 13. A place to meet
  14. 14. Someone to facilitate
  15. 15. The key ingredient - effective facilitation Facilitating a community
  16. 16. A community of practice
  17. 17. Why does a person engage with a Community of Practice? • Attractive purpose grabs and retains attention • Perceived benefits: – Socialisation – Co-learning, knowledge sharing and co-production • Each person chooses to be a member – Volition – Joining in – and leaving!
  18. 18. Communities of Practice 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
  19. 19. Community Type • Helping Communities provide a forum for community members to help each other with everyday work needs. • Best Practice Communities develop and disseminate best practices, guidelines, and procedures for their members use. • Knowledge Stewarding Communities organise, manage, and steward a body of knowledge from which community members can draw. • Innovation Communities create breakthrough ideas, new knowledge, and new practices.
  20. 20. Critical Success factors for a CoP Critical Success Seekers Contributors factors I need someone I am someone Social Networking Awareness How do I know who is out How can I become more there? known? Competence Is this person competent? How do I advertise my skills? Benevolence Will this person help me? How do I develop my reputation as a trusted member? Motivation Do I want to work with Why will I cooperate with this Culture this person? person? Access How do I approach this Do I want to be approached? Collaboration person? Tools Skills Does the CoP have the tools to collaborate effectively? Mechanism Do we have a method to collaborate? Based on a slide by IBM
  21. 21. CoPs and Social Networks IDeA CoP Platform: IDeA Managed and Self-organising networks Facilitated networks Facilitator’s CoP
  22. 22. Step 4: 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 Event calendar News feeds News and Newsletters
  23. 23.
  24. 24. Step 5: Metrics
  25. 25. Membership and communities • Over 20,000 registered members • Over 570 communities • Average membership of a community is 50 • Highest membership of a community is over 1400 • Over 2700 members are contributing. • Average visits per months over 16,000 • Average contributions per month over 1000
  26. 26. Metrics – CoP Activity Total registered CoP members 20000 Forums 18000 Responses per 16000 thread 14000 Participants 12000 Threads with 10000 responses Percentage of CoP members who are contributors 8000 Total Topics 6000 17.00% Blogs 0 1000 2000 3000 4000 5000 6000 4000 Wikis 2000 16.00% Total comments 0 Articles per 15.00% Jan- Feb- Mar- Apr- May- Jun- community Jul- Aug- Sep- Oct- Nov- Dec- Jan- Feb- Mar- Apr- May- Jun- Jul- Aug- Sep- Oct- 07 07 Total posts 07 07 07 07 07 07 07 07 07 07 08 08 08 08 08 08 08 08 08 08 14.00% Total edits Total blogs 13.00% 12.00% 500 0 1000 1500 2000Total 2500 articles 3000 11.00% 0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 3500 4000 Jan-08 Feb-08 Mar-08 Apr-08 May-08 Jun-08 Jul-08 Aug-08 Sep-08 Oct-08
  27. 27. Patterns of contribution Ref: Jacob Nielson Number of contributions 1% active contributors 9% occasional contributors The 1-9-90 rule 90% readers (aka ‘lurkers’) Number of participants
  28. 28. Metrics • Don’t rely on metrics to claim your community is successful. • Use metrics to understand your community better.
  29. 29. Successful CoPs – Measuring Outcomes • Mapping Services Agreement (535 members) – joint procurement strategy on target for achieving savings of over £100m over 4 years. • NI14 Avoidable Contact (631 members) – highly active online conferences • Policy and Performance (1785 members) – Producing joint policy briefings • Projects and Programme Management (356 members)– Consistent contract templates developed for all local authorities.
  30. 30. Lessons Learnt: What went well and not so well
  31. 31. Lessons Learnt WENT WELL NOT GONE WELL • Evidence of greater •Disconnected CoPs - many collaboration across CoPs being created that do councils similar things • Evidence of more joined- •Poor/little use of tagging up thinking and new ways •Most self-organising of working networks do not attend Facilitator training • Greater knowledge (and •Management can hamper use) of social media tools or kill a community… • Continued and growing cannot make it thrive! enthusiasm for community collaboration
  32. 32. Summary - Developing a successful collaboration strategy with CoPs • Step 1 – know your audience • Step 2 – develop the business case • Step 3 – plan for culture change - it’s a different way of working • Step 4 – procure or develop the technology • Step 5 – Monitor and measure everything!
  33. 33. The future • Platform expanding to include central government and third sector • Breaking down silos through the use of a shared community space • Better metrics available for the communities • Blended off-line/on-line training for facilitators • Support for mobile working
  34. 34. A Quote I'm now convinced that sharing knowledge, information and experience through CoPs is the future of success in local government, and that social media tools such as those employed within the IDeA CoP platform are the glue that can stick cross-sector collaboration projects together Local Authority CoP facilitator
  35. 35. More Quotes As a chief executive I tend to think of it (Communities of Practice) as a way of expanding my organisation, because now I can ask somebody a question about leadership and development in the region and they can go off and talk to other people on the Communities of Practice and come back with an answer. So we are expanding our own organisation’s boundaries to actually help each other across the regionquot;. Andrea Hill, Chief Executive, Suffolk County Council “It’s possible to post something and get responses back from other members over a couple of weeks. Previously, you would talk to a few confidantes, then share things at conferences and it might be six months before you have the same level of strength in terms of that idea. James Winterbottom, Performance Improvement Officer at Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council ,: “We’re all serving the same cause and trying to serve the public. If a document, policy or strategy on CoPs works in one area, chances are it will work in yours.” Paul Dodds, Performance Officer at South Tyneside Metropolitan Borough Council “It cuts down on meetings, so in an age when local government is all about value for money and efficiency, it fits in well.” Kanza Ahmed, National Management Trainee at Warrington Borough Council
  36. 36. Recommended Reading • Cluetrain Manifesto – David Weinberger • Cultivating Communities of Practice – Etienne Wenger, Richard McDermot, William Snyder. • Community, Ecomic Creativity and Organization – Ash Amin, Joanne Roberts • Here Comes Everybody – Clay Shirky
  37. 37. Steve Dale Email: Blog: Twitter: