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Useful conversations for fledgling CoP

Posted by  Mark Schenk —June 5, 2009
Filed in Collaboration

On Tuesday I worked with three new communities of practice in a government agency. Each group was quite different but in all of them we talked about the things the groups should do first. I promised to send them ideas on conversations they might consider early on. Here is what I have come up with so far.

  • Purpose: an important discussion early on is to determine the purpose of the group – why it exists. While many groups will have similar descriptions of their purpose (learning, tap into the organisation’s knowledge in the domain, solve problems faster, standardise practices etc), each group needs to have this conversation.
  • Knowledge Market: this process encourages participants to identify things they can offer (specific techniques, documents etc) and things they need to learn or need help with. This process can be done face to face or via teleconference. It helps the group build relationships and to start sharing their knowledge and expertise.
  • Community Orientations: a concept developed by Etienne Wenger, Nancy White and John Smith and described here. In this activity groups discuss the areas they will focus mostly on in the short term.
  • Discussion tables. This activity is designed to get groups talking about the things they can do to improve their practice in the selected domain. In this conversation useful things to think about are things that will make the biggest difference for the domain and things that will make their work easier/better/more enjoyable/more rewarding.

What others are there?

Mark Schenk About  Mark Schenk

Mark works globally with senior leadership teams to improve their ability to communicate clearly and memorably. He has been a Director of Anecdote since 2004 and helped the company grow into one of the world’s leading business storytelling consultancies. Connect with Mark on:

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