Supporting Community of Practice Facilitators

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The IDeA have published a report on the Community of Practice ‘Facilitator’s Workshop’ I organised for them on 27th April. The purpose of the workshop was to bring together the various facilitators of the on-line communities supported on the IDeA CoP platform, to learn from their experiences in facilitating communities of practice across local government, and in response to issues raised by the facilitators through their own dedicated CoP, namely:

  • how can I keep momentum going?
  • who can I turn to for support?
  • will my opinions be seen as ‘novice’ compared to others in the community?

Community adviser and activist Ed Mitchell spoke on ‘Nurturingcommunities from networks: the gritty bits’. There was also a sessionfrom Hilary Messeter from the National College for School Leadership(NCSL).

As with many of these type of events, the coming together and sharing of knowledge can be a therapeutic  process, i.e. the realisation that you’re not alone and that someone else has the same concerns and issues as yourself, and better still,  finding someone who has solved the issue you’ve been worrying about.

One particularly encouraging piece of information that emerged from the workshop was that most of the CoP’s across local government have a 10% contribution rate, which is well beyond the ‘1% rule’.

Dave Briggs, who facilitates the Collaboration and Social Media CoP, and the LGNewmedia site summed the day up very well in saying:-

“We’re trying to sell two very ambitious concepts with this [IDeA CoP] platform.Firstly, we are asking people to tear down silos and start workingtogether and sharing our knowledge – something that is an anathema tosome elements of local government culture. Secondly, we are asking themto do so using the web, with blogs, wikis and forums!”

It was apparent to me that there is a close relationship between effective CoPs and effective facilitators – i.e. you can’t have one without the other.

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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