Communities of Practice: Conversations to Collaboration

I’ve was pleased to be invited to do a keynote presentation at the NHS eSpace Coordinators conference earlier this month.  I wanted to emphasise the importance of the Coordinator’s role in building trust within a Community of Practice (CoP), and as a catalyst for turning conversations into active collaboration.  I should note that I’m more familiar the term ‘Community Facilitator’, for this role, and have used the term ‘facilitator’ and ‘coordinator’ to mean the same thing, i.e. the person or people who support, manage and guide the CoP members in achieving their goals. Perhaps a better description for this role is ‘community cultivators’,  since it is they who provide the conditions for the CoP to grow and flourish.I can’t over-emphasise enough the importance of this role and the people who perform it. The difference between a vibrant and successful CoP and one that meanders aimlessly with little or no contributions is down to the facilitator (or coordinator, moderator, cultivator). Members of the CoP have been sufficiently motivated to join the CoP; it is up to the facilitator to inspire the members to connect, collaborate and co-create.  I tip my hat to all of those who do this successfully, and quite often without due recognition or reward. Something I hope will change as more and more organisations are turning to this way of working and have realised that technology alone does not provide a successful learning and sharing environment.I’d be interested to hear from anyone who is willing to share examples of how active facilitation (e.g. guided learning) has helped their CoP, and/or what makes a successful Facilitator.The slides are available for download from Slideshare, and reproduced below:

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