Callahan, S. D. and P. Milne (2004). ActKM: Variety in a Community of Practice from a Complexity Perspective. Human Perspectives in the Internet Society: Culture, Psychology and Gender. K. Morgan, J. Sanchez, C. A. Brebbia and A. Voiskounsky, WIT Press.
Finally an article talking about interventions for communities of practice from an advisory perspective! They call the advisor who tries to influence the functioning of a CoP a 'designer'.
"A set of mechanisms is explored to understand how a designer might influence variety in a community of practice. Four mechanisms are addressed:
- The process of copying strategies and types
- Copying with error
- Recombination of ideas
- Role of the physical environment"
From the article: "Community designers should remain mindful of variety, and, if appropriate, should use the mechanisms described above to influence it. (...) Interventions can be applied by an external force or by an internal force within the community. "
I think an external advisor/designer can see much clearer than an internal person when variety within a community of practice is flawed and hampering innovation within that community. That could be a very important role external advisors can play in a community of practice development process.