30 different ways a Community of Practice can add value

How can communities of practice add value? Let me count the ways.

Image from wikimedia commons

Here’s a list we made of 30 different mechanisms by which a community of practice can add value to an organisation.

No doubt you can think of more!

Community members can

  1. Solve problems for each other 
  2. Learn before” starting a piece of work – using the CoP as a “Peer Assist” mechanism
  3. “Learn during” a piece of work, drawing on the knowledge of the CoP
  4. “Learn after” by sharing lessons with the community
  5. Support each other emotionally, through messages of support or congratulations
  6. Benchmark performance with each other 
  7. Exchange resources through the community, such as tools, templates and approaches
  8. Collaborate on purchasing (buying things that any one member could not justify) 
  9. Collaborate on contracts (using the purchasing power of the community) 
  10. Cooperate on trials and pilots 
  11. Share results of studies, and maybe remove the need for others to re-do the same study
  12. Exchange equipment (re-use old equipment, share spares) 
  13.  Mentor and coach each other 
  14. Provide a “sense of belonging” for the members
The community collectively can
  1. Collaborate on a community blog, to act as a real-time story of what the community is collectively learning
  2. Act as a learning resource for new staff
  3. Build and maintain documented Best Practices, perhaps using a community wiki as a shared knowledge base
  4. Build and maintain a curated document base as a shared resource
  5. Decide a taxonomy and/or metadata scheme so members can record their knowledge in a consistent way
  6. Identify the most useful resources (for example through feedback and voting)
  7. Recognise the most helpful and generous sharers (for example through “contributor of the year” awards)
  8. Develop lists of common risks and warning signs (and what to do when you see them) 
  9. Develop checklists and templates for member use
  10. Develop FAQs for new staff or for customers
  11. Create knowledge products for use by clients or customers
  12. Identify knowledge retention risks 
  13. Identify training gaps and collaborate on training provision 
  14. Identify new opportunities for the organisation within the practice area
  15. Innovate new products, services or opportunities by combining ideas from everyone
  16. Advise the organisation on strategy within the practice area

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Shared by: Nick Milton

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