Building an expertise location system for CoPs

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —December 10, 2008
Filed in Collaboration

iStock_000005743501Small_2.jpgDo you have a community of practice with members distributed around the country? Is your community deeply technical and use a suite of technical software tools to get the job done? So how do you keep track of who is doing what, or more importantly, who has done what, so you can get in contact with a fellow community member when you are about to embark on something similar?

A group of engineers I met yesterday had a simple approach. Each month the group’s co-ordinator sends an email to all members asking them to write a short paragraph on the simulations they are working on, what parts of the software suite they’re using, the type of modelling technique they’re employing and when they expected to finish. Most importantly they include their name.

The report is sent to management creating the impetus for everyone to contribute. It’s sent to all the members. The members store the reports in their email and when they start a new project they search through the reports to see who’s done something similar.

I suggested they might create the report in a wiki and tag each entry with the type of modelling etc. so new members can see the history of reports they day they arrive. This valuable information is currently locked in people’s email inboxes. The other advantage of using the wiki is that the co-ordinator can open the new report page in the wiki at the beginning of the month and members can start populating it with what they are doing, and by the end of the month the report is finished. This is also a great way to do newsletters.

About  Shawn Callahan

Shawn, author of Putting Stories to Work, is one of the world's leading business storytelling consultants. He helps executive teams find and tell the story of their strategy. When he is not working on strategy communication, Shawn is helping leaders find and tell business stories to engage, to influence and to inspire. Shawn works with Global 1000 companies including Shell, IBM, SAP, Bayer, Microsoft & Danone. Connect with Shawn on:


  1. Samuel says:

    Good idea! But I think has an even better way to solve this problem.

  2. barthox says:

    Hi Shawn,
    just a little question …
    why a wiki, and not a blog?

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