Key characteristics of healthy communities were consistent across the various industries studied. Following are some characteristics:
- Most active communities are also highly valued by their organisations
- Projects, goals and deliverables give a community something specific to organise around
- Healthy communities have enthusiastic, active, energised leaders, spending between 10-25% of their time engaged in community activities
- Leader activities include facilitating meetings, handling logistics, networking among members and networking among sponsors
- Healthy communities have a core group of active members
- They have a clear sense of making progress, even if goals are informally formulated, which energises the community
- Healthy communities are far from the margins of a company even though management attention can easily inhibit community development.
- Some communities are developing the organisation's knowledge assets
I think this is interesting, as I also encounter the belief that communities should be left alone in organisations. What I observe is that this marginalizes them, because there is no attention for learning from the community of practice. For inter-organisational communities (as I'm now mostly engaged with) it is even less likely that an organisation is closely involved. Though this may create the space for authentic development, is can also be interpreted as lack of interest in the domain of the community. Good to read the whole paper, it is not very long and gives a very pragmatic insight in communities within companies.