Communities of Practice: Conversations to Collaboration

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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:

About Post Author

Stephen Dale

I’m a life-long learner with an insatiable curiosity about life. I love travel, good food, and good company. I’m happy to share what I know with others….even the interesting stuff! My outlook on life is pretty well captured in this quote from a book about the legend of King Arthur: “The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, “is to learn something. That’s the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.” ― T.H. White, The Once and Future King So much to learn, so little time!
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