I’ve been working with Communities of Practice for about 3 years and have learnt many lessons on what to do and what not to do.
And being that I work in Knowledge Management I’m always looking to find ways of sharing my experience with others.
So I’m doing a little bit of research at the moment at my organisation to try and prove all of the anecdotal evidence that I have. Yes I know probably not a good thing. But it’s the same groups that constantly fail and you work with them, help them set up a plan show them what to do and how to engage members. And they ignore it.
So what can you do?
Anyway it reminded me of the research project that the Knowledge and Innovation Network conducted in 2007 where they showed the 9 key actors to a successful Community of Practice.
Define the Focus of the Community
- Ensure community activities address business issues
- Ensure high levels of sponsor expectation
- Provide CoP facilitator training
- Ensure CoP facilitators are given sufficient time for their role
- Provide significant funding for face-to-face events
- Improve the usefulness of Tools provided
What can facilitators do?
- Ensure there are clearly stated goals
- Engage members in developing good practice
- Promote CoPs ability to help solve daily work challenges
And at an event I was running a few months back where we showing one group the basics of social reporting. They come up with a little audio clip of How to make a community fail. Here are their thoughts.
- Not setting aside time to monitor activity on your community
- Not answering the questions that the community wants and not know what they actually want
- Allowing questions to go unanswered, so they feel as if no one is there
- Not making new members welcome in the community
- Don’t tell anyone that you have a new community
- Not getting the membership right in terms of the background and in terms of the priority of the members
- Flaming when a new member is put down by older members for asking what they see as an obvious question.
- Assume what the members need, and tell them what they need
- Not setting the example as a facilitator, no profile and coming across as someone who is not real.
Not sure what other people think, but I think that’s a good way to kill a community.
I’ve been using google docs for a couple of years and it’s a great thing to use. But yesterday it was the first time I’ve really seen the power of using it. We where revamping our leaflet on Communities of Practice.
I remember when we first wrote it, it was one of the most time consuming thing that I have done. So revamping it, I thought it would take a few hours going back and fourth and changing a few bits here and there.
Actually it was a bit of luck that we used google docs, a previous meeting was over running and I didn’t want to kick them out of the room.
So I sent an invite round to the team and off we went. Normally it’s one person who has to change it and try and make sense of what everyone was saying.
But this was diferent everyone could edit; if someone had a thought on how to change it, of they went.
1 hour later a new revamped leaflet. I didn’t think any of us thought we would be able to do it that quickly. So if you get a chance try it out.
Lee Lefever explains how Google Docs works
Just be aware that people don’t believe that your in a meeting and want to come and chat.
I need to think of something to stick on my monitor maybe something like this with Live Meeting written on it