Post image for Why Communities of Practice are the Key to the Future

Why Communities of Practice are the Key to the Future

One of my favorite sources of inspiration, Harold Jarche, has a really interesting post I wanted to point you to about how to organize for diversity and complexity, one of the themes we explore in great detail in Humanize.

Some choice quotes from the post:

“…What we know and do inside our organizations is insufficient to address external complexity or to be innovative… Connecting the diversity of markets and society to the organization, instead of creating firewalls, is a major challenge for leadership today. How do you maintain the integrity of the organization while embracing the chaos beyond?

Jarche believes that communities of practice are at least one part of the answer, because they can sit in between external networks (where you find diversity of experience and thought) and the internal teams (staff or volunteers) who are actually doing the specific and complex project work.

“In the middle are communities of practice, which comprise a mix of strong and weak social ties and are the ideal liquid space for mixing learning and work while sharing advice and knowledge. Social networks are the enabling technologies that can connect external networks, communities of practice and project teams. Social learning is what flows on these networks.”

Read the rest of the post here.  Also take a look at that link above to a post on social learning, which has a lot of practical details on how the workplace processes involved.

I think it’s extremely useful to think about communities of practice (which are, essentially, what associations are in general, but are also the way many associations organize themselves at the ground level of volunteer management) in this way.  If you see your  volunteer groups as the bridge between the association and the wider community – not just the association community itself but all of the weak ties connecting it to the wider world – you can see how you might be able to make it a priority to amplify diversity (cognitive and otherwise) within all of the work your volunteer groups do.  How can you start to bake in some “bridging activity” to every working group you have?

BONUS:  Read SmartBrief On Social Media’s take on a similar point.


Steamprof March 2, 2012 at 11:19 am

RT @nancyrubin Why Communities of Practice are the Key to the Future via @socialfishfood

jcufaude March 6, 2012 at 5:51 am

It’s interesting.  We went through a phased where Wenger’s work on communities of practice was a big discussion item in associations, but then for many groups, the interest, conversation, and commitment seemed to vanish.  It may be time to reengage with such an important concept.

affiniscape March 23, 2012 at 11:11 am

RT @maddiegrant: Why Communities of Practice are the Key to the Future. #socialfish

Online Schools June 16, 2012 at 2:14 am

At we help you achieve your dream career/goal, whether it would be getting a promotion, upgrade your education, change your profession, confused about the right career and/or Institutes or need more options to compare from. We provide free information/counseling and try our best to connect/match with the right source for you to prosper no matter of your current location and/or circumstances.
Also Find Us Here:

Comments on this entry are closed.

{ 9 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: