Companies are increasingly orienting towards the generation of knowledge. Formal and informal work groups are born every day in organizations like yours, whose members manage to generate value together. In this context, communities of practice are becoming more frequent. But… what are communities of practice? Let’s dive into this interesting world together!
Understanding communities of practice.
Communities of practice (CoPs) are a knowledge management tool that is materialized through working groups that pursue a clear objective: to generate knowledge. In this sense, the members share learnings, reflect and analyze the experiences of others. Pretty often, it is an informal and self-generated group of people, whose members share expertise and passion on the subject in question.
Members of a community of practice have a common interest in the topic at hand and often possess expert knowledge. They are committed to helping each other and sharing activities, information and knowledge. They also share resources that they develop within the community, which can be documents, experiences, tools, procedures, among others.
We can understand them as a social network that allows knowledge to be generated, transferred and generalized among its members and, later, among the members of your entire organization. To identify a community of practice, it is important that you understand that it must have the following characteristics:
- Domain. Areas of mutual interest between participants of the CoP.
- Community. Relationships between participants are built through discussion, learning, and carrying out activities together.
- Practice. CoPs focus on generating knowledge, standardizing work methods, and developing tools to later share with the organization.
Who is the leader of a community of practice?
The leader, also known as a facilitator, is in charge of keeping the community of practice functioning correctly, prioritizing joint work and commitment among the participants, and also stimulating a climate of trust. It is the leader who has the role of identifying new topics to introduce into the CoP’s tasks and centralizing the suggestions of the members. They are also the ones who ensure that knowledge is shared through community networks.
At Huenei we believe that communities of practice are essential to business development. This is why we set up work teams that function as communities of practice focused on specific problems of our clients. Our Turnkey Projects solutions focus on meeting the specific needs of your organization, carrying out customized turnkey projects, which in addition to software development, allow your organization to standardize information and share it.
From our experience, we like to consider communities of practice as a fundamental part of the structure of the intellectual capital of your company. This is so because, once established, these communities have an effect on both the organization’s structure and its culture and procedures. Managing to contribute to the knowledge that is shared and distributed.
Ideas to promote communities of practice in your organization.
A company that is committed to the development of communities of practice and that understands their value will be able to develop a strong culture of knowledge. It is not difficult to begin to empower and stimulate the emergence of communities of practice in your organization. Some ideas are:
- Develop a web platform that facilitates the development and action of communities of practice, giving them easy access to them and a place to organize calendars, meetings, store information and share it. We can help you out with this 😉
- Meet with your employees, discuss the need to develop communities of practice, and select a group of volunteers to start implementing one.
- Achieve a close relationship with the leader, to help them guide and manage the group.
- Don’t focus on the short term. Short-term approaches are typical in companies since often the urgent trumps the important. This causes communities of practice to focus only on the generation of explicit and low-value knowledge.
As a corollary, we can affirm that communities of practice are key to the development of an organization focused on learning and knowledge management. Companies like yours should work to reduce the transactional distance and increase cohesion between members in order to bring these communities closer to the creation of implicit knowledge. It would be convenient if you focus the strategic objectives of your organization in generating greater group learning of individuals and bringing communities of practice closer to the creation of implicit knowledge.