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Steve Dale Director Semantix (UK) Ltd Collabor8now Ltd Discovering the value of Social Networks and Communities of Practice www.collabor8now.com Based on a presentation to the Public Health Information Network (PHIN) Atlanta, Georgia. September 2009
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 ,[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],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 ,[object Object],[object Object],[object Object]
Over 700 Local Gov Services
Background to the IDeA ,[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object]
IDeA CoP Platform Statistics ,[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object]
 
Work group descriptions KIN, Warwick Business School As long as there is interest in maintaining the group Passion, commitment and identification with the group’s expertise Members who select themselves To develop members’ capabilities; to build and exchange knowledge Community of Practice As long as people have a reason to connect Mutual needs and interests Friends and acquaintances To collect and pass on information Social networks Until project completion Project milestones and goals Employees assigned by senior management To accomplish a task Project team Until organisational restructuring Job requirements and org structure Employees who reports to the group’s manager To deliver a product or service Formal work group Duration Adhesive Members Purpose
So what’s new about CoPs?
Royal Guild of Cloth makers Guild of St Luke (painters) Guild of Goldsmiths
Over 800 Worshipful Companies www.wordle.net
So, nothing new about people gathering together and sharing knowledge .
But have we forgotten how to have conversations?
The age of mass production has stifled independent thought
Uniformity, repetition
Workplace – no place for  creative thought
Is this what we asked for or what managers think we need?
"If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you got."  Albert Einstein, 1879-1955 Evolution
This is NOT profound! ,[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object]
Brian Solis and Jesse Thomas  http://www.marcomprofessional.com/posts/trevor.young/brian-solis-introduces-the-conversation-prism
Group Collaboration ,[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],Cass R Sunstein, 2006
The ROI conundrum ,[object Object]
Return on Investment (ROI) ,[object Object]
ROI – alternative definitions ,[object Object],[object Object],[object Object]
Different perceptions of ‘value’ Community member Community Benefits to the organisation Benefits to the individual Knowledge Sharing Quality and intensity of engagement
Value to the  organisation ,[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object]
Measuring value to the  individual Ask the CoP members ….
Keeping up to date with current thinking   ,[object Object],[object Object]
Innovations   ,[object Object],[object Object]
Sharing Good Practice / avoiding duplication of work ,[object Object],[object Object]
Relationship Building ,[object Object],[object Object]
Measuring value by  productivity
Metrics & Measurement ,[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object]
IDeA CoP Business Objectives ,[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object]
What to measure (everything!)
Understanding your community
Understanding your 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
Metrics ,[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],A chicken doesn’t get fatter the more you weigh it!
IDeA CoPs - what we have learnt
Tools that can support collaborative working Find and connect with experts Threaded discussion forums, wikis, blogs, document repository News feeds Event calendar News and Newsletters Find and connect with your peers
… but it’s more about the people than the technology
What can you accomplish in one week? Time in the week Start a discussion Be a CoP member Facilitate a CoP Respond to a forum posting Write a blog Contribute to a wiki Read a document Read a blog Read a wiki Comment on a blog Add an event Upload a document Read a forum post No time I hr 5 hrs 10 hrs Lots of time
Top Tips.  ,[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],Do….
Don’t.... ,[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],Top Tips.
Know when to let go!
[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],Lao Tsu, Chinese Philosopher (Contemporary of Confucius);  Taken from Tao Te Ching c 500 BC And finally…
Stephen Dale www.semantix.co.uk www.collabor8now.com Email:  [email_address] Twitter:  www.twitter.com/stephendale Blog:  http://steve-dale.net Thank you!
Credits ,[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object]

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Discovering The Value Of Social Networks and Communities of Practice

  • 1. Steve Dale Director Semantix (UK) Ltd Collabor8now Ltd Discovering the value of Social Networks and Communities of Practice www.collabor8now.com Based on a presentation to the Public Health Information Network (PHIN) Atlanta, Georgia. September 2009
  • 2. 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)
  • 3.
  • 4.  
  • 5.
  • 6. Over 700 Local Gov Services
  • 7.
  • 8.
  • 9.  
  • 10. Work group descriptions KIN, Warwick Business School As long as there is interest in maintaining the group Passion, commitment and identification with the group’s expertise Members who select themselves To develop members’ capabilities; to build and exchange knowledge Community of Practice As long as people have a reason to connect Mutual needs and interests Friends and acquaintances To collect and pass on information Social networks Until project completion Project milestones and goals Employees assigned by senior management To accomplish a task Project team Until organisational restructuring Job requirements and org structure Employees who reports to the group’s manager To deliver a product or service Formal work group Duration Adhesive Members Purpose
  • 11. So what’s new about CoPs?
  • 12. Royal Guild of Cloth makers Guild of St Luke (painters) Guild of Goldsmiths
  • 13. Over 800 Worshipful Companies www.wordle.net
  • 14. So, nothing new about people gathering together and sharing knowledge .
  • 15. But have we forgotten how to have conversations?
  • 16. The age of mass production has stifled independent thought
  • 18. Workplace – no place for creative thought
  • 19. Is this what we asked for or what managers think we need?
  • 20. "If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you got." Albert Einstein, 1879-1955 Evolution
  • 21.
  • 22. Brian Solis and Jesse Thomas http://www.marcomprofessional.com/posts/trevor.young/brian-solis-introduces-the-conversation-prism
  • 23.
  • 24.
  • 25.
  • 26.
  • 27. Different perceptions of ‘value’ Community member Community Benefits to the organisation Benefits to the individual Knowledge Sharing Quality and intensity of engagement
  • 28.
  • 29. Measuring value to the individual Ask the CoP members ….
  • 30.
  • 31.
  • 32.
  • 33.
  • 34. Measuring value by productivity
  • 35.
  • 36.
  • 37. What to measure (everything!)
  • 39. Understanding your community profile Observers Power Contributors Contributors Inactive
  • 40. 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
  • 41.
  • 42. IDeA CoPs - what we have learnt
  • 43. Tools that can support collaborative working Find and connect with experts Threaded discussion forums, wikis, blogs, document repository News feeds Event calendar News and Newsletters Find and connect with your peers
  • 44. … but it’s more about the people than the technology
  • 45. What can you accomplish in one week? Time in the week Start a discussion Be a CoP member Facilitate a CoP Respond to a forum posting Write a blog Contribute to a wiki Read a document Read a blog Read a wiki Comment on a blog Add an event Upload a document Read a forum post No time I hr 5 hrs 10 hrs Lots of time
  • 46.
  • 47.
  • 48. Know when to let go!
  • 49.
  • 50. Stephen Dale www.semantix.co.uk www.collabor8now.com Email: [email_address] Twitter: www.twitter.com/stephendale Blog: http://steve-dale.net Thank you!
  • 51.

Editor's Notes

  1. Social networks and communities of practice are becoming ubiquitous in our increasingly connected world, and many people are generally involved in a number of them - whether that is at work, school, home, or in our civic and leisure interests. Many managers and organisations remain sceptical about the value that is being created by such networks and communities. How do we value shared knowledge? What is the ROI for a collaborative network? 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.
  2. 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.
  3. What do we mean by the ‘value’ of something? Nutmeg. Weight for weight more valuable than gold in 17 th century Europe. A spice held to have powerful medicinal properties. It rocketed in price when physicians in Elizabethan London claimed that their nutmeg pomanders were the only certain cure for the plague. Do you think it was successful in curing the plague? Quote: I conceive that the great part of the miseries of mankind are brought upon them by false estimates they have made of the value of things. Benjamin F ranklin 1706-1790 It does not necessarily follow that something with a high cost (expensive) has a high value, and conversely, something which may have a low cost (i.e. cheap) could have a high value. So we need to treat ‘cost’ and ‘value’ as two entirely different things.
  4. And the need for CoPs that join up LA's
  5. 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
  6. 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. The IDeA CoP platform has gone some way to legitimising this new way of working, with over 35,000 registered users collaborating and sharing knowledge in more than 820 CoPs. This remains unchartered territory for the majority of staff working in central and local government, and much work remains to be done in addressing the cultural and behavioural barriers that prevent more effective knowledge sharing and practice development
  7. The Community Hub page – aggregation of content from the other 900+ communities
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Over 800 Worshipful Companies (networks of professional artisans) - currently active in London.
  11. Creativity and original thinking will drive change. But remember, not all change is good!
  12. And there are now more opportunities to have conversations than ever before!
  13. Value to the organisation will probably be different to value to the individual (the latter is far harder to measure).
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. YouTube 0.07% of the membership contribute Wikipedia 0.8% of the membership contribute Yahoo groups 1% of the membership contribute
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. Being a member of a community doesn’t have to take up lots of time. Facilitating/moderating a community does require some dedicated effort – half a day per week or more, depending on the size and type of community.
  22. Targets such as a 40% contribution rate
  23. Know when to relinquish control – let the community find its own direction and set it’s own objectives.
  24. Mention handouts (IDeA cards).