Companies aiming at generating CoP-enabled business results need to dedicate resources (time, money, expertise) to the hosting and development of the communities, which include:
- Executive sponsors forming a CoP steering committee to develop company strategy, protect the communities and guide their alignment with business objectives
- Community support team of HR and KM professionals who get trained in CoP hosting and community knowledge gardening
- Training for the community facilitator (typically, a member of the community) and its core group
- Social intranet (CoP wiki, blogs and forums).
Our team provides CoP services, including but not limited to the following:
1. Executive seminar on “Creating Value with Communities of Practice”
This is typically a “public” (i.e. multi-organisational) gathering of senior executives interested in exploring the value that a CoP approach can bring to theirorganisations. It would be a 0.5 to 1 day workshop of between 10-20 participants facilitated by two of our CoP consultants. Here we would provide details of the contexts, in which CoP can provide benefits; present case studies to illustrate these; discuss potential set-up conditions, roles, architectures and supporting network software environments; start initial conversations on potential candidates within their organisations. (Past executive seminars were delivered in collaboration with INSEAD and the London School of Economics.)
2. Introductory workshop to raise awareness of CoP benefits
Typically this 1-day workshop would take place with interested parties within an organisation that has already decided to investigate the efficacy of the CoP approach. It will be a combination of materials and approaches presented by our practitioners, a part “enquiry” or “clinic” working with potential CoP candidate ideas and a mapping of next steps.
3. CoP pilot design
This is a service to support an organisation to establish its first community of practice from a green-field situation. This provides an overall framework which would typically encompass all or many of items 4 to 7 below. It will identify the key components (i.e. clarity on purpose; specify benefits for members; roles; training and support for the community’s core group; documentation; and advice on appropriate technology support). This might require a 6-12 month engagement with periodic inputs from FC practitioners. Typical assignment concludes with a review workshop to consolidate learning, identify what else might be required to continue developing capability and lay the foundations for replication with a mini case study.
A variant of this service would be to work with organisations that have existing CoPs. The purpose in that case can be to:
- Identify what is needed to “turbo-charge” and optimise the CoP, then power it up with the best known methods of CoP cultivation
- Recommend a set of activities and developments required to extend the effectiveness of the CoP, in terms of value to both members and the organization.
(NB Items 4 to 7 can be delivered as standalone items but would typically be integrated into a more comprehensive engagement).
4. Executive coaching and seminars
Provide either one to one or group support to specific business function CoP work, (e.g. the role of CoPs in Mergers & Acquisitions) to further develop and extend the benefits of existing CoPs.
5. Designing, training and coaching the CoP Support Team
Our CoP approach, like all of our interventions, has as one of its key objectives to build sustainable capability within the client system. To that end we recommend the establishment of a CoP Support Team, where there are already more than 5 CoPs, or there are plans for creating them. This team can become a centre of excellence in CoP cultivation, letting the organisation draw upon it for realising the fuller potential of all CoPs. We would work with that group to develop their skills and understanding, using our unique approach drawing on Innovation Architecture, Art of Hosting, Holacracy and the U Process. We would continue to support their development though a combination of individual coaching and seminars / training sessions.
6. Training and coaching for CoP facilitators and core groups
The success of every CoP depends largely on whether it has a skilled facilitator. We will provide your CoP facilitators with professional training customised to the lifecycle position of the CoP and the developmental level of the facilitator. Where a Support Team already exists, we would to co-deliver these sessions initially, with a member of the team to strengthen the internal capability in CoP support.
7. Developing company-specific CoP-management handbook
When CoPs are more solidly established, there is often a need to capture and codify the practice and experience already gained as a readily available source of knowledge. We either write these handbooks and present them as interactive CoP guides on the intranet), or we provide support and guidance on their construction, content, and best uses.
8. Guidance to turn internal social networks into a strategic advantage, by extending their use as CoP platforms
“Enterprise 2.0” and “social intranet” are only two of the popular buzzwords that follow the pattern of the internet becoming intranet, and now, the excitement about in-house social networks fueling social business, or business conducted on the strength of transparency and reciprocity in working relationships. However, that excitement is frequently coupled with the question of how to turn a commodity, the social media software, into unbeatable strategic advantage, by combining it with the power of communities of practice and/or customer communities. That’s where CommunityIntelligence Ltd comes in, with its considerable experience in the strategy of designing and facilitating online communities. We provide workshops, training and coaching to in-house personal working in the overlap of business strategy, people development and collaboration technologies.
9. CoP Lifecycle Management workshop for organisations with already established communities
For organisations that already have a tradition of CoPs and where there are opportunities for improvement or a sense of unfulfilled promise, we provide an analysis of the current life-cycle position of their communities which looks at their cycle specific dilemmas and opportunities, and the necessary next steps to advance them and achieve greater benefit. We use the Etienne Wenger’s 5-stage model of the typical CoP life-cycle.
10. Creating a sustainable community strategy
This includes creating a single, enterprise approach; building on existing networks; ensuring that communities fulfill explicit business objectives; using a combination of corporate and business-unit funding; and establishing clear roles and responsibilities.