Friday 1 September 2017

Communities of Pratice at World Vision

I blogged recently about the evolution of Communities of Pratice at Shell, and how they moved from free-for-all to a more managed approach. Here is a similar evolution at World Vision.

Image from Wikimedia commons
The decision between a managed approach to communities and an unmanaged bottom-up approach is an important one. Early in the history of the topic, the unmanaged approach seemed the default, but watching the evolution of communities, it seems that this is not necessarily the best way. I have already blogged about how Shell switched their approach from managed to unmanaged, found it resulted in a drop-off in community activity, and went back to a managed approach, Here is a similar story from the charity World Vision.

The story was presented by Jack Merklein at KM Australia last month, and you can find Jack's PowerPoints here (thanks to my colleague Ian Fry for notifying me of this story).

Jack sees Communities of Practice as fundamental to World Vision's KM program, and a "force multiplier" for the organisation.  At the moment World Vision has 27 communities of practice organised on a voluntary bottom-up basis, with largely part time support, and over a hundred voluntary interest groups. They are finding this approach less than optimal, with a lack of guidance and training for the CoP coordinators, resulting in inefficiencies and limited learning.

They plan to move to a managed approach.

Under the new approach they plan the following

  • Each of World Vision's 5 sectors of operation will have no more than two CoPs each - ten in total 
  • Each CoP must first be justified by a business case and have a KM Manager overseeing the CoP
  • The interest groups will be put on hold, and replaced by a focus on centres of competency 
  • A KM/CoP advisory committee will meet to set direction for KM/CoP strategy for the Partnership 
  • Business management of World Vision’s intranet, which hosts the CoPs, will transition to the KM team

The plan is underway, and one of the next steps is development of a Knowledge Management strategy aligned with the mission and objectives of World Vision, which guide the CoP Business Case implementation and other policies/procedures for CoPs

We will watch the development of CoPs at World Vision with interest.

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