Home > Communities of Practice > Identifying the needs for your online community

Identifying the needs for your online community

Each online group will go through different stages not just in maturity but in the focus.  Identifying the key focus of the group can help you in planning the activity and resourcing the group correctly.

What will be your main focus for your group?

  • Helping – members help each other to solve day-to-day issues and experts can be invited in to help.
  • Best Practice – developing and disseminating best practices, guidelines and procedures issued to provide instant access to validated and up to date knowledge and information.
  • Knowledge Stewarding needs – organising, managing and stewarding a body of knowledge from which members can draw.
  • Innovation needs – Where the creation of breakthrough ideas, knowledge and practices is paramount

Using the template below can help you identify where you should focus first.  Tick the boxes to help you identify where you should focus.  And don’t forget to review this over time as the focus will change.

Helping needs

connecting people
building trust
creating a forum to support requests for help and assistance
creating an environment to share, assess value and disseminate good ideas
creating self-help functions
accelerating collaboration across organisations or a specialism
strengthening networks and improving employee relations
facilitating professional peer learning and drawing from expert knowledge and experience


Best practice needs

increasing exchange of lessons learnt and good practice
seeking new understanding of developments and implementations
collaborating to develop, consult and validate practice
publishing and disseminating specific practices
verifying effectiveness and benefit of practice
accelerating the speed of quality decision making and implementation of best practice
Achieve higher standards in projects, strategies and improving outcomes
enlisting leading experts


Knowledge Stewarding needs 

creating a shared understanding of issues
providing instant access to knowledge and information in an organised and intuitive way
accessing collective and vetted knowledge that is managed, summarised and up to date
bring together timely and relevant knowledge and information
providing quick and easy access to up to date news, publications, websites and practice in one place
increasing opportunities for self-help and personal development
collaborating to increase the productivity of ideas and knowledge
helping with leadership issues


Innovation needs

creating a safe and trusted environment where innovation can take place
supporting creative, experimental, multi-disciplinary and cross boundary working
sharing and developing expert knowledge and thinking
developing innovative practices
accelerating the rate of innovation through sharing and testing out ideas
providing opportunities to approach and work with new technologies, new business and new approaches
providing channels to support the development of new ideas and ways of working
sharing warnings and deciphering trends


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