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Welcome to the “chart house” of our “C-Port.” As we thought about building communities of practice (CoPs) in the Department of the Navy-throughout the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corp commands-we could not help but see the resemblance between communities of practice and ports of call or seaports. Communities of practice have “C-Ports” where community resources are available much the same as sea ports provide shelter and services to the ocean’s travelers. As you go through this guide, we will occasionally point out these comparisons to you. Hopefully you will find our “port of call” of benefit on your journey toward becoming a knowledge-centric organization.
until you have the right metaphor to let you perceive it.
– Thomas Kuhn
“Chart house” is an apt analogy for this guide. In a good chart house you find not only charts and navigational maps, but also the navigational instruments that you may need.
We have entitled the guide Building Communities of Practice: Creating Value Through Knowledge Communities. Collecting and authoring the contents of this guide has been a memorable experience. We now hope that using this guide will promote successful experiences as we pursue the opportunity to create value through communities. We also appreciate that this subject has linked you with us in a common professional practice. Periodically throughout this guide will appear suggested approaches to interacting and exchanging information. In the future perhaps we will have the opportunity to do just that as part of the same community.
Cports are Communities…
Traders peddling wares at the market,
Scholars teaching thinking at the school,
Families growing new life in their homes,
And so many more doing so much more…
Cports are destination and shelter,
cannot be solved at the same level of thinking
we used when we created them.
Development of this guide is part of a work-in-progress for gathering know-how about how to start and sustain CoPs. Version 1.0 reflects much of the valuable thinking about CoPs from a significant body of literature that has been increasing over the last two or three years. This first version also reflects a selected set of current resources from a diverse set of experts, many of whom are thought leaders on the subject of CoPs. It is expected that their continuing review of this guide, as well as your use of it, will reveal places where additional materials and more extensive research are needed. Largely what we have with this guide is a sufficient plateau for fostering new levels of CoP activities. We also anticipate that the next two to three years will yield substantial experience with CoPs in research and development activities and with published resources, and that future versions of this guide can capture those learnings.
A systems thinking approach was used for the development of this content. That is, we attempted to consider as many aspects of CoPs as feasible and consider their impact on each other. As you will see, our research revealed so many different types of CoPs that a variety of situational characteristics must be considered when making the important decision to create a CoP. Hopefully, this guide will help you determine the framework to best accommodate your CoP requirements.
the constant invention of new business.
Thank you for taking an interest in this Practitioner’s Guide for Building Communities of Practice. We appreciate your attention and commitment to CoP development. As you pursue support for CoPs, we hope that our contribution will provide valuable assistance to you. Moreover, we hope that you will share your insights and discoveries with us as you proceed. To this end, we have included information about how you can participate with us in an ongoing process to improve this guide for all CoP practitioners. We encourage you to be part of a collegial practice for supporting work with CoPs.
As you discover additional resources or experience that would assist with a future version of this guide, please contact the following:
|U.S. Mail:||Department of the Navy Chief Information Officer,
Attn: Communities of Practice
1000 Navy Pentagon, Washington, D.C. 20350-1000
|COP:||To join the Department of the Navy Knowledge Management
Community of Practice go to:
Another way that we can interact is through an on-line community of practice for community of practice practitioners, known as Com-Prac. You may wish to join Com-Prac at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/com-prac
Department of Navy Chief Information Officer
Dan Porter, Chief Information Officer
Dave Wennergren, Deputy CIO for Enterprise Integration and Security
Ron Turner, Deputy CIO for Policy, Infrastructure, Systems and Technology
Department of Navy “Cport Team” Leadership
Frank Sowa (DON CIO KM Team Lead)
Ms. Alex Bennet (Former Deputy CIO, DON)
CAPT James Kantner (OPNAV N79, Former DON CIO KM Team Lead)
Bob Turner (CPort CD V1.0 Lead)
Other Federal Partners
The FAA Team Technology Center, Federal Aviation Administration; Federal Highway Administration, Federal CIO Council KM Working Group, Enterprise Interoperability & Emerging IT Committee; Federal KM Learning>Consulting Network
Industry and Academia Partners
Dirk Ramhorst, Siemens AG; Etienne Wenger, Richard McDermott, and William M. Snyder, CPsquare; Social Capital Group; Group Decision Support Systems, Inc.; Cindy Hubert, Richard McDermott, and Carla O’Dell, American Productivity Quality Center (APQC); Dr. Geoffrey Malafsky, Susan Hanley, and Steve Walker, Technology Intelligence International; Larry Prusak and Eric Lesser, IBM Institute for Knowledge Management; Fred Nickols, Distance Consulting; David Isaacs and Juanita Brown, The World Café; Christina Cooksey, Wes Blankinship, Bob Jones, Ken Phannavong, Reba Smith, Larry Taylor, Emily Urban, Dawn Walter, Matt White, Ryan White, and David Whitney, Burke Consortium, Inc.; Deb Hanlon, Guillermo Almada, Joanne Harper-Tam, Tom Novak, and Chris Werlhof, George Mason University; Mongoose RealCommunities; Jack Hawxhurst and Rachael Sedeen, Vredenburg, Inc.; David Sibbet, The Grove Consultants, Intl; John Seeley Brown, Xerox PARC; Cyndy Medeiros, Nortel Networks; James D. McKeen, Queen’s University
About this Guide
Building Communities of Practice: Creating Value Through Knowledge Communities, A Practitioner’s Guide V1.0 is a guidebook for championing, developing, and participating in communities of practice (CoPs). It provides conceptual roadmaps, operating principles, tools, examples, and a valuable set of resources for all stages of community development.
Communities of practice are increasingly attractive as an adjunct to formal organizational processes. Organizational needs will continuously expand for knowledge access, decision support, just-in-time learning, and other knowledge worker resources in the 21st century workplace. As this happens, we will increasingly call upon such innovations such as CoPs.
Our contribution to CoPs is presented in computer disc format primarily because of the desire to fully support fleet services in the Department of the Navy.
The Department of the Navy Chief Information Officer created this guide, specifically for use throughout the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps and, generally for use throughout the U.S. government and by organizations supporting the U.S. government. The development strategy inherent herein includes sharing and collaborating with CoP professionals across the government and in the private sector. Permission for use of material in this CD is granted to all government, industry, and academic organizations supporting the United States Government. Users are required to cite original sources of material quoted from this guide.