Rounding out another year of growth and innovation in the use of social media, this item provides a compelling case study for the success of Communities of Practice as a foundation for more effective collaborative working. I’m privileged to have been one of the catalysts for establishing this strategy for UK local government. In fact, I’ve been an advocate for Communities of Practice since long before they were made fashionable by Etienne Wenger et al, tracing my involvement back to the original CIX networks of the early 1990’s. This was part of the ‘seed’ I planted in 2005 when asked to develop a Knowledge Management Strategy for what was then the Improvement and Development Agency (now Local Government Improvement and Development) and was responsible for the architecture, design and implementation of the CoP platform. This could have been mistaken as just another technology project if not for the core team of knowledge professionals who would go on to support and manage it and who have been instrumental in providing training for community facilitators and support for the 75,000 or so registered users.
It seemed quite pioneering at the time, at least for the public sector, but I think many other organisations in both public and private sectors have since recognised the value of Communities of Practice as effective knowledge sharing and collaborative networks.
Take a moment to read some of the comments from members of the 1,500 or so CoPs that are actively engaged in some aspect of improving public service for local government. The next stage to this strategy is the Knowledge Hub (which I’m also closely associated with). This will go live in or around March/April 2011. watch this space!