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.