Finding a CoP

Posted by Debby on 29th December and posted in EDC 633, EDC 638A, EDC 664

This message came through com-prac today with a very good method for finding out which CoPs exist in the area you are trying to study. I have copied the message below:
“Deciding how to find a CoP dependes on how comprehensive and geographically dispersed you envision the community to be. For a global community (or multisite one) were you do have some time and resources to research it, a SNA is a good approach.”

If you think the community is more local, there is a very simple method.

1. Identify the topic you want to find the community for.
2. Find someone who works in that topic area. Ask them who the experts are, who they go to for help, who is well plugged into other people engaged in the topic. Ask if they know of anyone at other sites in the company who are involved in the topic. This is a very simple version of an SNA. You don’t need any special terms to describe it. Make your interview more of an informal disucssion.
3. Then go talk to the people they mention. Same questions.
4. When people start mentioning the same people, you have begun to discover there real community. Because people know others in their community, they have the infoprmation you need.
5. Construct a map of who talks to whom (your own SNA).

It is even better if you do this informal interview (a kind of networking really) with someone who you might think would be a community leader.

A good point was made earlier — why do they need an internet? Once you have identified the community, this would be a good question to ponder/discuss. Many times communities don’t use the tools we provide enough to justify the tool.

Hope this is useful.
Richard McDermott Consulting
189 Overlook Lane P: 303-545-6030
Boulder, Co. 80302 F: 303-545-6031

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