Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Communities of practice, bronnen van inspiratie

I read a Dutch book about communities of practice 'bronnen van inspiratie' written by Marc Coenders and Robert Bood Unfortunately the book is sold out, but maybe you may find some soon on the black market...

It took long before I read the book because I thought it would be a sort of Dutch translation of Cultivating communities of practice but it is not. It has a lot of Dutch examples and shares the experiences of Habiforum, an inter-organisational CoP in the field of landuse. As a result it is more focused than 'cultivating communities of practice' on inter-organisational CoP cultivation- the other very focused on corporate CoPs.

For me, it was almost funny to read some of the Dutch jargon like 'hoeders' (sort of thematic leadership). I also enjoyed the many practical tips throughout the book. In a way the practical tips may you see easily how the authors translate some of the theoretical parts into practice. I can share (my own summary and translation) one practical tip:

Taking stock in a community of practice

At certain intervals, it is useful to evaluate the balance between 'bringing' and 'taking away'. This balance is one of the prerequisites to obtain flow in a group. Taking stock of this balance offers a good moment for participants to reaffirm their participation in a CoP, or reconsider it (may even lead to a decision to end their participation). Some possible questions for stock-taking might be:
- What have been the benefits of the CoP over the past period?
- What has been my contribution to the CoP?
- In the coming period: what direction do I like to take?
- What benefits would make the coming period successful to me?

The first question often provides a wide range of reactions. What is important for one person, maybe irrelevant for another persons. The collective benefits are always higher than the individual benefits.

1 comment:

Dorine Ruter said...

Hi, Joitske!
This book has been lying around at our office for a few years now, but I never picked it up because of the same reason you mentioned. I might give it a try then. Thanks for the tip!