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					           Establishing
Communities of Practice
                    for
 Competitive Advantage
Presentation Overview

• What is a community of practice?
• How can they be positioned as a strategic
  tool?
• How do you build communities of practice?
• What’s the business case for investing in
  communities?
Defining Communities of
              Practice
                           Definition


• Groups of people who share a concern, a set of problems, or a passion
  about a topic and who deepen their understanding and knowledge of
  this area by interacting on an ongoing basis. (Wenger, McDermott,
  and Snyder)

• A group of self-governing people whose practice is aligned with
  strategic imperatives and are challenged to create shareholder value
  by increasing capabilities and improving practice. (Sun Life Financial
  Canada)
   Characteristics of Communities

• Utilize productive inquiry
• Self-mange
• Generate knowledge to support their
  practice
• Self-govern
• Support each other
• Collaborate via multiple channels
Knowledge Architecture
  Knowledge Access
    – Static
    – Codified and stored; centrally available from a
      knowledge repository
    – Driven by access
  Knowledge Exchange
    – Interactive and dynamic
    – Created in communities of practice
    – Driven by productive inquiry
        Knowledge                         Knowledge
         Access                           Exchange

                 Place Information in Context


 Knowledge                                      Communities
Repositories:           Learning                 of Practice:
 Accessibility                                    Productivity


                  Contribute New Knowledge
Community Architecture


        Productive Inquiry/Conversations
           – The need to know presented to the
             community
        Community Conventions
           – Guidelines and norms
        Generative Capabilities
           – Learning and collaborating to create
             new knowledge
        Tools
           – Computer and telecommunications
             infrastructure
 Productive Inquiry/Conversations



            Community
            Conventions


              Knowledge
               Creation

       Generative Capabilities:
            Learning &
Knowledge  Collaboration     Knowledge
Exchange                      Access



                Tools
Positioning Communities of
Practice as a Strategic Tool
Relationship to Strategy – Assumptions


         • Capabilities generate the organization’s
           value and produce results
         • Focus for strategy development is creating
           a distinctive set of organizational
           capabilities
         • Capabilities represent the focal point from
           which strategies are built
Relationship to Strategy – Assumptions


    • The organization’s performance depends on
      quality and reach of its strategies
    • Success is based on the organization’s ability
      to provide the necessary capabilities for
      individuals to take effective action
                 Learning
                                  Performance


Communities of
   Practice
                   Capabilities
                                  Communities of
                                     Practice


    Strategy
                       Learning
 Situated in a Strategic Context


• Aligned with strategic imperatives
• Create the capabilities needed to link
  strategy with performance
• Generate meta-capabilities and new
  knowledge
              Situated in a Strategic Context



Create organizational readiness for change –
  (e.g.Value Creation Networks)
  – Multiple partners with individual expertise
  – Collaboration and partnership capabilities and
    mindsets
  – Technology enabled
        Strategic Purpose



Strategic theme: aligned with a strategic
  imperative
Core organizational competency: focused
  on creating a core competency
Common development need: focused on
  increasing individual capabilities
        Strategic Purpose



Distributed functional expertise: provides
 forum for dispersed expertise
Cross-generational knowledge exchange:
 creates peer learning space to address
 demographics
Precursors to Success

• Shared sense of purpose and ownership
• Self-initiated view of learning and readiness
  to learn from each other
• Overall climate of trust and involvement
• Partnering mindsets and capabilities
Precursors to Success

• Strong technology platform
• Supportive context and leadership
  endorsement
• Realistic expectations on return on
  investment
Building Communities of
              Practice
Building Communities

•   Planned, systematic approach
•   Accomplished in two phases
•   Executive sponsorship
•   Dedicated resources
•   Steering group drives process
Phase I
                          Establish
      Define             Community       Launch
    Community            Components     Community
      Project



             Expand
            Community                   Establish
  Sub-                    Sub-
community               community      Community

                                                         Phase II
           Evaluate
          Purpose &                         Checkpoint
                             Grow            Progress
          Direction
                           Community         & Value
 Building Communities – Phase I

Define Community Project
  – Identify community elements
  – Set context
  – Outline project
Establish Community Components
  – Identify issues and approaches
  – Plan project tasks
Launch Community
 Building Communities –Phase II

Establish Community
  – Develop sense of community
Checkpoint: Progress & Value
Grow Community
  – Increase community value
Building Communities –Phase II

Evaluate purpose and direction
  – Assess value and goals
Expand Community
  – Membership and scope
  – Sub-communities
  – Network of communities
Community Components

           •   Governance
           •   Membership
           •   Technology
           •   User Support
           •   Content
           •   Learning
           •   Facilitation
           •   Communications Plan
 Creating the Business Case
for Communities of Practice
  Business Case for Communities

• Promote innovation through problem-
  solving, learning, and knowledge
  creation
• Contribute to shaping culture &
  identifying values
• Increase speed for developing new
  solutions
Business Case for Communities

• Combat isolation and creates
  networks
• Create an organizational
  infrastructure
• Ready the organization to participate
  in value creation networks
Value Propositions

• Increase capabilities and meta-
  capabilities
• Shape culture
• Connect people
• Promote innovation
• Infuse the organization with market
  characteristics
• Create competitive advantage
Summary – Key Points

• Naturally forming, existing structure
• Can be leveraged to create strategic
  advantage
• Facilitation is required to maximize
  potential
• Must be situated within the larger
  knowledge strategy

				
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