Actors and Factors: Virtual Communities for Social Innovation.Virtual communities of practice (COPs) are fast becoming a basic work unit in a networked world.
Actors and Factors: Virtual Communities for Social Innovation
Susan G. Restler and Diana D. Woolis
Knowledge in the Public Interest, New York, USA
Virtual communities of practice (COPs) are fast becoming a basic work unit in a networked world. The relationship between COPs, Knowledge Management, and the Learning Organization is a question of priority for social sector leaders, researchers, policy makers, and practitioners as they seek to establish ways to maintain relevance and effectiveness in the volatile environments in which they work (Thomas, 2005). When well executed, virtual COPs produce results because the knowledge is stewarded: organized for learning, poised for action, and planned for sustainability. In this paper, we document and analyse the actors and factors that, in our experience, contribute to success: Enlightened Leadership, Compelling Work, Appropriate Technology and Knowledge Sustainability
Over the last two years we have worked with new virtual COPs in both the public and non-profit sectors. The outsized successes prove the power of this approach to work. The under-performers help define the parameters for more effective implementations. Perhaps surprisingly, the critical success factors for a high-performing virtual COP have absolutely nothing to do with technological aptitude. The two key determinants of community success harks back to Business Management 101: the strategic clarity and capacity for collaborative leadership in the organization, and the specificity and practicality of the community mission.Autor(es): Susan G. Restler and Diana D. Woolis