We're talking about professionals. One definition of professional is "active member of a professional community of practice." Brooke: "In the knowledge economy, learning is doing." Trust is required to make CoPs function, but this isn't honesty so much as authenticity in relationships -- being reliable, making a contribution, and upholding community standards.
Looking at how communities spread and grow, small groups connect with others through people whose role is linking them. (Think of the people Malcolm Gladwell calls "connectors" in The Tipping Point. Think of communities as the informal learning objects of larger professional organizations. You can string them together into meta-communities, i.e. communities of communities.
This isn't so much a matter of technology, for communities can work with video conferencing, application sharing, listservs, websites, and the standard bag of Internet tricks. The telephone. Rhythm and ritual are key to keeping a community strong. The technoogy can be simple but the social aspects can be quite complex.
CoP is the formal organization recognizing that the informal organization exists. The formal organization should nurture and listen to the CoP, not try to control them. (I wonder how many traditional organizations will be able to facilitate CoP without unduly messing with them.) 2/3 of the participants just surveyed don't recognize community participation in indvidual performance reveiws.
CoP is knowledge up; KM is knowledge down. Experience validates the CoP.
Johnson & Johnson has maybe a hundred CoP. They look at how well they support their communities. Sponsorhsip, resrouces, barriers down, cultural issues, and technology. This is sort of an audit of CoP.
The "Tech Clubs" at Chrysler evolved into more strategic entities. In time, the Clubs helped Daimler and Chrysler come together as one organization.
What are the incentives that make a robust community work? In the SafeCities program, showing up at the teleconferences was the ticket of admission. F2F meetings reinforced the social context. These people are practitioners. They are accountable for improving their craft.
Strategic knowledge management cycle. You must identify the domains of knowledge that are critical to your strategy, find the communities, tie the learning to achieving results, and feeding the knowledge back into the business strategy. Brooke: Does the strategy feed the domain, or is it the other way around?
Metrics? Sometimes there's simply an intuitive belief that this is what to do. At Xerox, they calculate how much value is added. At HP, where they collect stories, they let the community tells its stories. At Shell, they tell the story of revitalizing a dry well -- the benefits pay for the donuts and travel forty times over. You need the stories to generate the numbers. The results come back on the job. If you save a few weeks, you can put a number on that.
Critical success factors: Domains energize core group: Executive sponsorship from client organizations. Enough support but not too much.
Archived presentations are available on Saba's website.
I don't have the patience for much of what passes for eLearning, but Human Capital Live has always justified investing an hour of my time. Check it out.
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