Facilitation is necessary for CoP

Here is a YouTube video by Nancy Dixon about Community of Practice (CoP).  She said, communities cannot run by it's own.  It needs to be taken care of.  The facilitator will make the community safe and comfortable for knowledge to flow.  Most CoPs don't run very effectively unless there is a facilitator who is really actively managing the community.  The CoP is primarily about asking and answering questions, about people getting the knowledge across the organization.

According to Nancy, following are some good examples of what a facilitator should do:

  • Make sure when a question comes in, it gets answered, and answered as quickly as possible.  If possible, get variety of answers.
  • Welcoming of new members, to make them feel safe and comfortable.  Sending them welcome emails, give them a phone call, and let them know someone cares about them in the community.
  • When someone get a very good answer, it should be addressed and let them know how helpful it is.  It should not be just a general thank you note.  It should be something to help people know the appreciations.
  • When someone ask very good questions, it should also be addressed.  These people need to be acquainted.  Ask them what happened, and why.
  • Make sure the community is a comfortable and safe environment.  Bringing people together once in a while, for meetings, for teleconference, or even offline talks over lunch are helpful.

It is important to make sure people in the community are people who need the information, who know enough to use the information, and who will respect the information.  That's the kind of culture that the facilitator creates in the community.  Watch Nancy's video in more details:


Nancy also mentioned in a separate YouTube video that, bringing CoP members together face to face occassionally is very important: