The two disastrous approaches he sees are:
I agree that both approaches are disastrous. There is definitely a balance you have to find between designing events and linking people and trying to find initiatives that emerge 'naturally'. So you have to build in flexibility in how you are going to proceed. The paternalistic approach probably works nowhere working with adults on the long run (at least not in international development settings). In the short run though, it may seem to work well.
"1 - Creating an organisational template for communities of practice, with a full roll out plan, dedicated staff etc. etc. This is the classic engineering approach which assumes that there must be a top down, designable RIGHT answer.
In practice different communities work in different ways and in different ways at different times. A list serve may be good enough, maybe Grove or similar to get started. A point may arise where you need a taxonomy, formal roles, start up
processes etc. but that is expensive and requires a lot of energy to give it any chance of working. Better to create the right ecology in which different types of collaboration can take place, and then consolidate successful experiments when (and only if) they or the organisation can benefit from formalism.
2 - Taking a paternalistic (or maternalistic approach) in which people are held to be children or kids needing help or assistance. This to my mind often goes with consultants to take up therapeutic techniches (in narrative Appreciative Inquiry is one) and move them sideways into organisations. Such approaches were designed for situations where the Therapist takes a dominant role (which is why some consultants like them) and assumes that the recipients are in need of therapy. Most of the time they are not - its the management and consultants who need it not their subjects/victims."