Friday, May 02, 2008

KM blogging: Effectiveness of communities of practice

There were so many good break-out sessions, I didn't get the chance to attend them all. One that I missed was with Carol Csanda from State Farm Insurance: The Effectiveness of Communities of Practice; From Anecdotes to Evidence. There were a couple of nuggets in the handout I thought were worth mentioning here.

First, I was struck by State Farm's definition of a "knoweldge community." They define a knowledge community as

A community is a group of people with a common interest in a topic and a commitment to share and a apply their knowledge for business benefit.
Recognized knowledge communities have three characteristics:
  • Leadership from within the community
  • Sponsorship from an area/program/office within the corporation
  • May use collaboration tools for knowledge sharing
The benefits they's discovered at State Farm are four-fold. Communities:
  • Facilitate best practice transfer and knowledge sharing
  • Foster collaboration and innovation
  • Accelerate learning
  • Provide opportunity to network
I know many might suggest we have informal communities in the Coast Guard that look like this, but I think what we're missing is the organizational sponsorship and the tools for knowledge sharing. We're so ad hoc now there's no way to direct things from a macro or enterprise perspective.

Here's another thing that I think is valuable to take a look at. It's from a literature review asking What predicts virtual team effectiveness? Ms. Csanda suggests there are four items which might predict virtual team effectiveness:
  • Clarity of objectives
  • Communications
  • Face to face meetings
  • Montoring team health by leaders.
Great stuff that reminds me technology is important, but it really is about relationships between people. People, not technology.

No comments: