Once again, I find myself in need of explaining CoPs (communities of practice) to people I’m working with. I’ve been working with CoPs since 2002 in the same organisation. There’s been the usual ups and downs – a couple of CoPs bit the dust (really because they’d reached the limits of their purpose); senior management have tried to get their claws into the CoPs or grilled me over ROI on the CoPs; and the CoPs have survived a recent restructure.
In fact, I now have an explosion of CoPs on my hands due to a recent announcement by our top dog that CoPs are an important part of our KM initiative. All good. I’m still surviving! But I’ve run across a whole heap of people new to the organisation or in another related area (like L&D or IT) who don’t really understand this CoPs business. So I have a mix of people on my hands: some old warriors who have been in a particular CoP for 5 or 6 years and some new people who are excited by the whole concept but haven’t had the “CoP experience” so don’t quite know what’s up.
It’s actually getting quite interesting now – finally, I have an L&D crew who want to (gasp!) work with me (KM) and we are approaching credentialling via learning pathways (formal and informal curriculum, with CoPs being the informal part). Anyway, I trawled through YouTube to see what I could find in the way of organisations and CoPs or people explaining CoPs.
The first one is CoPs 101 (I’ll be using it!) – Communities of Practice Explained – within the context of the UK Government.
And this led me to the following website – Communities of Practice for Local Government. I found tons of CoPs, including a valuable Facilitator’s Community for facilitators to share tips about online facilitation.
Then I came across this video about Caterpillar’s sharing culture and their 4,000 CoPs.
There were a couple of things in the video I don’t agree with but hey, I’m in a good mood so I’ll lay off!