In a workscape perspective I described how new frameworks help management, HR and L&D professionals get away from the trees to see the forest of workforce development.
Earlier, in Bridging the Gap; Working Smarter, I explained how loose external networks are necessary to have access to diverse opinions, while work teams need to share complex knowledge and therefore have to build strong, collaborative relationships.
Communities of practice are the bridges between the work being done and diverse social networks, fostering cooperation without hierarchical structure.
Basically, collaboration is necessary to do complicated, but manageable, project tasks; while a looser form of cooperation helps to understand more complex and not yet manageable problems. Cooperation is moving from a soft skill to a required hard skill.
From this perspective, the best way to develop internal workforce support structures (what used to be called learning & development) is from the outside in.
Start with what is being constantly learned in professional social networks and harvest it for insights.
Discuss these ideas cooperatively in communities of practice and then test out ways to enhance collaboration (Probe-Sense-Respond).
Through collaborative work, get feedback on where performance support may be required and if training is needed.
In this way, the externally focused social business, and everyone in it, drives the development tools and methods to support the work being done.
Everyone is involved in what used to be the instructional design process, but now there is a focus on collaboration first, performance support when needed, and training as the last choice.