Community Of Practice (Co P)

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Community Of Practice (Co P)

  1. 1. Community of Practice (CoP) Guidelines for Establishing a Community of Practice (CoP) By: Mike Baker, MMS
  2. 2. What is a CoP? <ul><li>A CoP is an informal group of peers that have a common sense of purpose, a common need to resolve an issue, and/or a common need develop expertise, knowledge or innovation. </li></ul><ul><li>CoP’s are learning forums where members come to learn from each other and use each other as a sounding board to focus on problem resolving, knowledge sharing and innovation. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Type of CoP’s <ul><li>Problem Solving Communities – where an informal group of people come together brining expertise from various groups and focusing on a specific problem or issue. </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge Sharing Communities – where an informal group of people come together with the idea to develop new knowledge that improves processes or performance. Included in this the finding, collating, organizing and distributing the knowledge. </li></ul><ul><li>Best Practices Communities – where an informal group of people come together to share and learn best practices. The focus is on developing, validating, documenting and disseminating best practices to all members within the organization ( This was a common practice in my company ). </li></ul><ul><li>Innovation Communities – where an informal group of people, mostly from the technical areas come together and focus on new and emerging areas of technology and where there may be an opportunity to gain an edge. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Informal ? <ul><li>The key in the previous slide is the word “informal” and should be self-supporting. But that doesn’t mean a Facilitator is not needed to kick things off. </li></ul><ul><li>CoP’s work best when the drive is the common reason the group is getting together i.e. common problems, need for best practice, need to share knowledge, etc. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Knowledge & Learning <ul><li>Knowledge and learning are social in nature. </li></ul><ul><li>Think about your daily work-based conversations. For the most part they are idea-sharing. We try out new words and concepts or solutions and they get tossed back and forth, refined until they are ready to become active. </li></ul><ul><li>This leads to Tacit Knowledge and Explicit Knowledge. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Tacit Knowledge <ul><li>Tacit Knowledge (TKN) is the knowledge or know-how, that resides in everyone’s head. This is built up over the years through memories, experiences and learnings </li></ul>
  7. 7. Explicit Knowledge <ul><li>Explicit Knowledge (EKN) is the knowledge that gets deliberately documented, shared and communicated. </li></ul><ul><li>Remember: “There is no knowledge outside of people, only information.” – Verna Allee, OD Practitioner, Fall/Winter 2000 </li></ul>
  8. 8. So What is a CoP? <ul><li>It is a group of real people who do real work everyday and what holds them together is a sense of purpose and a real need to know what each other knows. </li></ul><ul><li>Again, that purpose could be to solve a problem, develop a best practice or fuel a passion. </li></ul><ul><li>CoP’s are not Teams – there is no project deadlines or management assigned topics. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Why is a CoP not a Team? <ul><li>In a team setting the major goals and basic nature are generally predetermined by management and dictated by benchmarks, structure, assignments and deadlines. </li></ul><ul><li>CoP’s goals are negotiated by its members. CoP’s require a sense of mission. People participate because they personally identify with the subject matter and there is something they want to accomplish together. </li></ul><ul><li>Hierarchy is usually checked at the door. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Benefits – What’s there not to like? <ul><li>It’s a powerful vehicle for sharing knowledge. </li></ul><ul><li>Help drive strategy. </li></ul><ul><li>Supports faster problem solving (dept & enterprise level). </li></ul><ul><li>Aid in recruiting, developing and retaining talent. </li></ul><ul><li>Builds core competencies. </li></ul><ul><li>Quickly disseminates best practices for optimal operational performance. </li></ul><ul><li>Cross fertilization of ideas. </li></ul><ul><li>Helps people do their jobs. </li></ul><ul><li>Helps a knowledge worker stay current. </li></ul><ul><li>Builds a sense of community with colleagues and within the company. </li></ul><ul><li>Provides challenges and opportunities to contribute. </li></ul><ul><li>Helps develop individual skills. </li></ul><ul><li>Increases access to expertise across the company. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Downside ? <ul><li>NONE !! </li></ul>
  12. 12. Facilitators Role <ul><li>To kick things off a Facilitator is needed to kick things off by: </li></ul><ul><li>Identifying the business case (problem, best practice, knowledge gap, etc.) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Determine the need for a CoP vs. workshop, forum, project. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Determine if issue is with CoP domain vs. belonging to another dept. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Determine the value of the contribution the CoP will have to the organization. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Identify the member needs by: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Determining the level of knowledge and need based on the topic. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Determine the willingness and capacity of the members to contribute. </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Facilitators Role – cont. <ul><li>Prepare an E-mail survey to provide details about the issue at hand and the need for potential members. </li></ul><ul><li>Establish the invite and outline the goals and operating principles. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>This is usually agreed upon by the members at the first meeting. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Operating principles could be anything from rules of engagement, to meeting goals such as one new learning per session, to at the completion of the session a summary of the discussion is distributed via sharepoint or some other vehicle. </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. CoP’s are out there! <ul><li>For the most part he challenge is not creating CoP’s, but finding them. </li></ul><ul><li>We need to understand how knowledge is shared or how problems get addressed. </li></ul><ul><li>Remember: some problems or issues never rise to the surface. </li></ul><ul><li>Once found (or created) they need to be nourished. </li></ul><ul><li>One way that this was accomplished by British Petroleum is that management required its employees to hold duel citizenship where everyone was a member of their department and an active participant in at least one CoP. This became part of the employees evaluation process and helped spread knowledge throughout the organization. </li></ul>
  15. 15. CoP’s as a start to a KM Program <ul><li>In a recent, unscientific, survey the overwhelming majority agreed that the greatest database a company has is its employees. </li></ul><ul><li>In the same survey they also agreed that they have no way to harvest the database and provide for the dissemination of knowledge leading to an increase in corporate intelligence. </li></ul>
  16. 16. References <ul><li>Verna Allee, Knowledge Networks and Communities of Practice, OD Practitioner Journal of Organization Development Networks Vol.32, No. 4 (2000) </li></ul><ul><li>Wenger Etiener, Richard McDermott and William Snyder, Cultivating Communities of Practice , Harvard Business School Press, Boston MA 2002 </li></ul><ul><li>Jean Lave and Etienne, Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation , Cambridge University Press, 2001, </li></ul>

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