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Cultivating knowledge through Communities of Practice
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Cultivating knowledge through Communities of Practice


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The presentation looks at the phenomenon of Communities of Practice and how they can develop into effective knowledge sharing environments. Topics include: …

The presentation looks at the phenomenon of Communities of Practice and how they can develop into effective knowledge sharing environments. Topics include:
What is a ‘Community of Practice’ (CoP)?
Moving from conversations to collaboration
Community culture and behaviours
What makes a successful community?
Measuring success and the elusive ROI
Lessons learnt from deployment of CoPs in local government.

Published in: Business
  • Dear Ali - glad you found it useful. Also check out 'Conversations to Collaboration'

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  • Wow, I want to express How much I appriciate you sharing this knowledge..

    Please be arround..We need (The World) need people like you.

    Ali Moa
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  • 1. Congreso Internacional EDO 2010 Steve Dale Director Semantix (UK) Ltd
  • 2. Who am I? Stephen Dale (Steve) 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.
  • 3. What I will cover  What is a „Community of Practice‟ (CoP)?  Moving from conversations to collaboration  Community culture and behaviours  What makes a successful community?  CoPs in UK Local Government  Measuring success and ROI  Lessons Learnt
  • 4. What is a Community of Practice? ? What is a
  • 5. Communities of Practice an environment connecting people and encouraging the sharing of ideas and experiences
  • 6. A successful CoP needs certain ingredients
  • 7. A community
  • 8. A domain of interest
  • 9. A place to meet
  • 10.
  • 11. But what’s new about Communities of Practice?
  • 12.
  • 13. Guild of Goldsmiths Guild of St Luke (painters) Royal Guild of Cloth makers
  • 14. Over 800 Worshipful Companies
  • 15. Why have a Community of Practice? “CoPs are not about bringing knowledge into the organisation but about helping to grow the knowledge that we need internally within our organisations.”
  • 16. Communities of Practice  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
  • 17. Evolving from What is a conversations to ? collaboration
  • 18. Degrees of Transparency and Trust Join our list Join our forum Join our community Increasing collaboration and transparency of process
  • 19. Collaborative Working – some distinctions Purpose Members Adhesive Duration Formal work To deliver a Employees who Job requirements Until group product or reports to the and org organisational service group‟s manager structure restructuring Project team To accomplish a Employees Project Until project task assigned by milestones and completion senior goals management Social To collect and Friends and Mutual needs As long as networks pass on acquaintances and interests people have a information reason to connect Community To develop Members who Passion, As long as of Practice members’ select commitment there is capabilities; themselves and interest in to build and identification maintaining exchange with the the group knowledge group’s expertise KIN, Warwick Business School
  • 20. 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!
  • 21. Levels of engagement Become an expert Become a mentor Level of engagement Write a blog Ask a question (with attribution) Comment (with attribution) Register Comment (Anonymously) Browse, search, learn (Anonymously) Type of engagement
  • 22. 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
  • 23. The “1% Rule”  For every 100 people online only 1 person will create content and 10 will “interact” with it. The other 89 will just view it.  Each day at YouTube there are 100 million downloads and 65,000 uploads  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  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 Source: The Guardian
  • 24. The important message is: look after your content creators!
  • 25. But have we forgotten how to have conversations?
  • 26. Is this what we asked for or what managers think we need?
  • 27. Group Collaboration  Conversation is NOT:  Discussion, deliberation, negotiation  Committee, team, task or working group  Majority wins, minority dominance, groupthink  Conversation IS:  Free-flowing exchange of ideas among equals  All ideas are solicited and are considered  Best ideas rise to the top Cass R Sunstein, 2006
  • 28. Understanding your community: Culture and Behaviours
  • 29.
  • 30. 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.
  • 31. Understanding your Community Helping Best Practice Knowledge Innovation Communities Communities Stewarding Communities Communities Drivers Lower cost through Lower cost through Professional Tracks shifting reuse standardisation development marketing trends Social responsibility Consistency of Regulation and project legislation Improves outcomes Activities Connecting Collecting, Enlisting leading Decipher trends members Vetting experts Share insights Knowledge who‟s Publishing Manage content Development of who Policy Structure Problem solving Index and store Task force Domain experts Sub committees Best practice Sub-committees and roles Publishing Reward for Sense of belonging Desire for Passion for the Job responsibility to Assistance to daily improvement topic detect emerging participation work Professional trends development Knowledge Tacit - high Low tacit Tacit to explicit Explicit to tacit. socialisation Explicit to explore Tacit to tacit
  • 32. Community Roles and Responsibilities  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  Facilitator/Coordinator consulting, connecting, facilitating, helping, guiding.  Leader serves an integral role in the community's success by energising the sharing process and providing continuous nourishment for the community  Librarian organises information/data (may be part of Facilitator/Coordinator role).  Technical Steward understands business needs and ensure the appropriate tools are available to meet these needs.  Experts are the subject matter specialists  Members/Participants without these there is no community; the essence of a community is its members.
  • 33. Members of an active community transactional lurkers peripheral occasional experts active beginners core group leaders facilitator outsiders
  • 34. Your community‟s life-cycle Sustain/Renew Level of energy Grow and visibility Start-up Close Plan Discover/ Incubate/ Focus/ Ownership/ Let go/ Time imagine deliver expand openness remember value From: Cultivating Communities of Practice by Wenger, McDermot and Snyder
  • 35. The community will go through cycles of activity Activity
  • 36. What makes a successful community?
  • 37. What makes a successful CoP?  clear purpose – what will it be used to do?  creating a safe and trusted environment  committed core group of active participants  being motivated  knowing the needs of participants  having a clear action plan with activities to meet needs  blending face-to-face and online activities This can all be achieved by good, active facilitation
  • 38. Facilitators‟ (Coordinators, Moderators) responsibilities Facilitation and Coordination of a CoP includes:  monitoring activity  encouraging participation (facilitation techniques)  producing an action plan  reporting CoP activity – metrics, evaluations  monitoring success criteria and impact  managing CoP events
  • 39. A Facilitator/Coordinator cultivates the community
  • 40. A Good Facilitator/Coordinator?
  • 41. Facilitating online - the challenges  designing the right mix of online and off-line activities ('blended learning')  catering for different learning styles and needs  learning to become a 'guide' or 'facilitator'  dealing with administrative, technical issues and support requirements, and issues of time  avoiding the dangers of misinterpretation of text  finding the right voice  standing back, and allowing members to discover the power
  • 42. Nine steps to a successful CoP 1. Provide significant funding for face-to-face events 2. Ensure community activities address business issues 3. Provide CoP facilitator training 4. Ensure CoP facilitators are given sufficient time for their role 5. Ensure high levels of sponsor expectation 6. Engage members in developing good practice 7. Improve the usefulness of Tools provided 8. Ensure there are clearly stated goals 9. Promote CoPs ability to help employee‟s solve daily work challenges Source: Knowledge & Innovation Network, Warwick Business School
  • 43. Communities of Practice in UK Local Government
  • 44. 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.
  • 45. About UK Local Government  Local government in England and Wales employs a workforce of 2.1 million people across 397 local authorities.  Each authority is working to deliver the same 700 services to their residents.  Has an annual operating budget of over £106 billion ($177 billion) for delivering services.
  • 46. For some it‟s a culture shock
  • 47. 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
  • 48.
  • 49. Evaluating success (and ROI)
  • 50. Metrics & Measurement  Identify Business Objectives  Decide on Priorities  Choose What to Measure & Tools  Quantitative  Qualitative  Benchmark  Identifying Trends
  • 51. IDeA CoP Membership and communities  Over 57,000 registered members  Over 1000 communities  Average membership of a community is 50  Highest membership of a community is over 1800  Over 2700 members are contributing.  Average of over 16,000 visits per month.  Average of over 1000 contributions per month.
  • 52. Understanding the community profile Power Contributors Contributors Observers Inactive
  • 53. What to measure (everything!) 60000 Number of contributing CoP Total registered CoP Members 50000 members 10000 40000 9000 8000 30000 7000 6000 20000 5000 4000 10000 3000 2000 0 1000 0 Jan-08 May-08 Sep-08 Jan-09 May-09 Sep-09 Jan-10 Percentage of CoP members Average no. of contributions 17.00% who are contributors 6.3000 made per member 16.00% 5.3000 4.3000 15.00% 3.3000 14.00% 2.3000 13.00% 1.3000 12.00% 0.3000 11.00% Jan-08 May-08 Sep-08 Jan-09 May-09 Sep-09 Jan-10
  • 54. 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
  • 55. 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.
  • 56. Measuring Return on Investment Cost of one face to face conference:  100 people attending an event in London  £5000/EUR 5,800 for rooms + lunch  £30/EUR 58 per person return train travel from a central England venue (Birmingham). One face-to-face conference would cost £8000/EUR 9,300 Cost of an on-line conference is virtually £0/EUR 0. There have been over 15 on- line conferences facilitated by IDeA so far.
  • 57. What is the value to the individual Ask the CoP members….
  • 58. Keeping up to date with current thinking “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.” TH - Policy Officer, Sandwell Borough Council
  • 59. Innovations “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.” NH, Projects and Research Lead, Innovation Unit, Kent County Council.
  • 60. Sharing Good Practice / avoiding duplication of work “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.” DB, Senior Policy Manager (equalities), London Borough of Sutton.
  • 61. Relationship Building “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.” PT, business architect, Wolverhampton City Council
  • 62. Measuring value by productivity
  • 63. Benchmarking (52 CoPs surveyed) How do you compare with other CoPs? Source: Knowledge & Innovation Network, Warwick Business School
  • 64. Metrics  Don‟t rely on metrics to claim your community is successful.  Use metrics and indicators to understand your community better. A chicken doesn’t get fatter the more you weigh it!
  • 65. Lessons Learnt
  • 66. Top Tips. Do….  ..identify and look after your facilitators – they are quite often the difference between successful and unsuccessful communities  ..let users drive their own experimentation and use of tools.  and support areas that have a clear desire and need.  trust and relationships face to face where possible.  ..condition your managers for failure – not every CoP is going to be successful.  ..use online conferences and „Hot Seats‟ to build membership growth and encourage conversations.
  • 67. Top Tips. Don‟t....  ..think you can force people to collaborate  ..assume everyone understands how to use Web2.0/social media tools.  ..assume everyone knows how to contribute.  ..worry about the „lurkers‟.  ..let command, control or hierarchy hamper or kill your community  ..let managers turn indicators into targets
  • 68. Know when to let go!
  • 69. Recommended Reading  Cluetrain Manifesto – David Weinberger  Cultivating Communities of Practice – Etienne Wenger, Richard McDermot, William Snyder.  Community, Economic Creativity and Organization – Ash Amin, Joanne Roberts  Here Comes Everybody – Clay Shirky  Groundswell – Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff  Tribes – Seth Godin
  • 70. Evolution of Knowledge "If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you got." Albert Einstein, 1879-1955
  • 71. Thank you! stephendale