Re: Formalizing an SME Network #CoP #expertise-location

Fred Nickols



The answer to your question is “It depends.”  I’m not being facetious.  There are different kinds of CoPs and if what you are talking about is a sponsored or engineered CoP, one set up at the organization’s initiative, clear goals are probably in order.  On the other hand, if the CoP is a natural or emergent CoP, started at the members’ initiative, stay away from imposing goals and objectives.




Fred Nickols

Managing Partner

Distance Consulting LLC

“My Objective is to Help You Achieve Yours”




From: sikmleaders@...
Sent: Thursday, October 10, 2019 10:30 AM
To: sikmleaders@...
Subject: [sikmleaders] Re: Formalizing an SME Network



Thanks to all of you who continue to provide your thoughts. There are some valuable insights here that reflect some of the challenges (and opportunities) in our environment. 


While we have just begun the process of mapping expertise, skills and critical knowledge, we have already identified a few specific business needs we can target with SME Networking / Communities of Practice (CoP). And I can use a lot of the advise and experience shared here to get us off on the right foot.


For those of you still following along, I have a related question on setting goals for CoP ... should a CoP have a stated goal (or goals)?  In my KM experience I have seen CoP success with clearly defined goals and I have seen CoP success where goals were specifically not established (e.g., to allow a free-flow and diversity of thinking). 


In my current environment I've heard some very frank feedback that the existing CoPs are not valuable because they don't have goals or stated purpose so the conversations meander too much and don't keep the discussions focused.


So what do you think ... set clear goals or not?




David Graffagna


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