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[ba-unrev-talk] CoPs Report

http://www.ewenger.com/tech/    (01)

This report is intended as a guide for selecting and assembling a
technological platform to support communities of practice across a large
organization. To this end, the report addresses four questions:
What makes communities of practice different from garden-variety online
communities?     (02)

Every group that shares interest on a website is called a community
today, but communities of practice are a specific kind of community.
They are focused on a domain of knowledge and over time accumulate
expertise in this domain. They develop their shared practice by
interacting around problems, solutions, and insights, and building a
common store of knowledge.
What categories of community-oriented products exist and what are they
trying to accomplish?     (03)

The ideal system at the right price does not exist yet, though a few
come really close. But there are eight neighboring categories of
products that have something to contribute and include good candidates
to start with. Analyzing these categories of products yields not only a
scan of products, but also a way of understanding the various aspects of
a knowledge strategy based on communities of practice.     (04)

What are the characteristics of communities of practice that lend
themselves to support by technology?     (05)

Technology platform are often described in terms of features, but in
order to really evaluate candidates for a technology platform, it is
useful to start with the success factors of communities of practice that
can be affected by technology. The third section of this report provides
a table of thirteen such factors with examples of how a technology
platform can affect the success of a community in each area.    (06)

How to use the answer to these questions to develop a strategy for
building a platform for communities of practice?     (07)

Most of the product categories can be a starting point for building a
general platform. In fact, this analysis of the field suggests a
strategy for approach the task. Decide what kinds of activities are most
important for your communities. Select a product in that area, and
expand it with elements from the other categories.     (08)

Cordially,     (09)

-jtm    (010)