After working for a number of years on the Communities of Practice platform we started to identify the key elements of a successful community.
- Clear purpose
- 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
A lot of time and effort goes into the early stages of the group’s development but if those key elements above are not fulfilled the group will probably disappear very quickly.
This is where the facilitators of the group come in. They work tirelessly to help the members of the group get what they need when they need it as well as identifying what they need next and helping for it to happen.
They are volunteers, it’s not something that they are paid to do and are probably learning the skills that are needed in this new way of working.
So after seeing a great posting by Richard Millington of Feverbee talking about how a community manager plans their week, I surveyed some of the facilitators across the Knowledge Hub to see where they spend time when they are facilitating the group.
I tried using an Infographic as something new and this shows how much time and what tasks professional community managers perform and compared it to the results from facilitators across the Knowledge Hub.
With some interesting results.
This is a bit of fun and a follow up to Blaise Grimes – Viort’s Zodiac Signs Survey where he conducted this survey with over 180 Community Managers across Spainish, German, British, French, American and other nations’ Community Managers.
With it being Chinese New Year on the 23rd Jan and Community Manager Appreciation Day I was wondering if the year of your birth would have any effect in you becoming an online facilitator.
It would be interesting to see if it does.
And if you are interested I’m a Snake, read into that as you will.
I had a meeting last week, well more of a get together of community facilitators from across my organisation. We had lots to talk about mainly around the migration of communities for the CoP platform to the up coming Knowledge Hub.
And all of this happening at the same time the public sector is going through huge restructures and potentially 500,00 job losses.
Everyone realised that many of the key communities, not just the ones led by us but many led by Local Authorities where at risk due to many reasons, such as programmes being cut, loss of key facilitators to the organisation or the core active members may no longer have jobs in the area work.
But even with all the upheaval, you can really see the passion of the facilitators.
And even if things change they still want to be part of the community and where possible pass the baton onto someone else.
For those communities that maybe nearing the end of it’s lifecycle we suggested four ideas of what could happen to them
- Close the community
- Close the community and leave a legacy
- Merge with another community
- Transfer the ownership of the community
For the ones that will be staying I hope they continue to be successful.
Talking of success. We have just started our second CoP of the Year award which went down really well last year.
Where we celebrate success in 3 categories
- Innovation and creativity – Demonstrating an innovative and creative use for a CoP or innovation and creativity within a CoP
- Efficiency through collaboration – A CoP that has led to specific time and cost savings for its members and their organisations (can include the host/facilitator’s organisation)
- Effective facilitation team – Demonstrates effective and successful management of a community of practice by a team of facilitators
Last year we even had an article written about it by Headstar
And just as a reminder to me about how important it has been to celebrate success and to see the passion that the facilitators have. I noticed this on the wall behind one of my colleagues.
|From Communities and Knowledge|
Before we started CoP of the Year we had an internal monthly ToP of the CoP award scheme where a small trophy would be passed around the organisation. We used to get phones call before the end of the month from facilitators wanting to know if they had won. And this led onto the CoP of the Year award.
But I do remember someone saying that Communities of Practice have a habit of surviving organisational restructures.
And on a last note talking about passion my colleague Charlotte is upping sticks and moving down under and after 3 or 4 attempts of interviewing her about being a Community Facilitator and failing due to all the arm waving
Charlotte summed it up by saying
As a facilitator of CoPs I’ve seen the power of nurturing a network. I’ve seen that it’s not about pumping out comms, but taking a step back. Helping the community connect with members and knowledge that they didn’t know were there.
As a member, the CoPs have enabled me to connect with a wider network of people online. Offline, being a member of the CoP has been a great way to break the ice particularly at events.
What else? I have learnt so much about the complex world of local government through the eyes, ears and discussions of other members. I have an understanding of what works and what doesn’t. I have learnt that successes can be big or small.
So if you’re in need of a great Community Facilitator there’s one going spare in a few weeks time in Australia