COMMUNITIES OF PRACTICE
- Our world is getting more complex as everything gets connected.
- Complex problems require more implicit knowledge, which cannot be codified.
- Implicit knowledge can only be shared through conversations & observation.
- Collaborative and distributed work is becoming the norm.
- Knowledge-sharing and narration of work make implicit knowledge more visible, especially in distributed work teams.
- Transparent work processes foster innovation.
- New ideas come from diverse networks, often outside the organization.
- Learning is part of work, not separate from it.
- Communities of practice enable the integration of work & learning.
So what is a community of practice? Maybe we should start with what it is not:
- It is not a help desk filled with subject matter experts.
- It is not a work group, or even task focused.
- One is not appointed by management to join a community of practice.
Some characteristics of communities of practice:
- People want to join them.
- They usually have a higher purpose, that one person alone cannot achieve.
- People feel affinity for their communities of practice.
- There are both strong and weak social ties.
- You know you are in a community of practice when it changes your practice.