What is a Community of Practice?

If you’re new to the Co-Creation Network, or maybe having a cursory look around this website to find out what it’s all about, it has occurred to me that you might not be familiar with the term Community of Practice, or have a handle on how one works. Better late than never, have a look at the below to clue you in and feel free to email me if you have questions.

Etienne Wenger (one of the originators of the theory along with Jean Lave), summarises CoPs as “groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly”. Read more on the Wenger-Trayner.com website here, and for useful links to books and articles. You can find examples of Communities of Practice in operation in many different industries or practices, this learning and sharing style is not particular to the NHS or even health and social care.

When setting up the Co-Creation Network initially, we worked with George Por who has vast amounts of experience in Communities of Practice, knowledge management and collective intelligence. He produced this image for our first workshops which explains how a CoP starts and then sustains itself once up and running:

The Virtuous Circle of a Community of Practice

A neat way of showing the principles we in the Co-Creation Network encourage from our CoPs, to help them to come together and share. Thank you George!

Angela Green, one of the Co-Creation Network Support Team, also produced this video which will help to explain our CoPs and our approach to this learning and sharing style too. Thank you Angela!

If you wanted to know more about the Co-Creation Network in particular, have a look at the home page on this website which links out to our video playlist and brochure too. And again, please get in touch if you have any comments or queries.

@lucy-s