Communities of practice: Linking knowledge, policy and practice – is a paper that Simon Hearn from the Overseas Development Institute and I have been puttering on for quite some months. Now it emerges from the editing process at last. (Funny how so many writing projects in my life take so long. Maybe that’s why I like blogging!
The knowledge gained by research is often trapped at the point of origin, caught in the language of research, or simply isolated from those who actually apply that knowledge – the practitioners in the field. Likewise, tacit knowledge from the field rarely reaches the researchers or those making decisions. More effective bridges between knowledge, policy and practice are needed, with communities of practice (CoPs) well positioned to do just that.
This paper describes the basic characteristics of CoPs and provides a rationale for their growing importance in international development. It also suggests some ways in which CoPs can be supported by development agencies, research institutes and donors to strengthen the linkages between knowledge, policy and practice.
Published by ODI.
Communities of Practice: linking knowledge, policy and practice PDF
cc on Flickr, Uploaded on February 10, 2009
I was going to say “online community management” in the title, because I know that is a hot search term, but I just could not do it. What Simon Hearn of the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) does for his community of Outcome Mapping practitioners is facilitation, management, technology stewardship and plain old leadership. A couple of months ago Simon and I got on Skype to learn more about Simon’s community facilitation and stewardship work. Take a listen (about 27 minutes – it was too good to stop him) and hear the story of the Outcome Mapping Community, how Simon fosters participation and stewardship for and by the community.
27 Minutes With Simon Hearn (MP3)
As background, here is Simon’s bio from the ODI site:
Simon joined RAPID in July 2007 as the Research Officer for knowledge and learning. His main responsibility is the coordination, facilitation, and development of the Outcome Mapping Learning Community – a global group of advocates, trainers, specialists and users of Outcome Mapping. He is also involved in research, capacity building and advisory work around policy influencing strategies, monitoring and learning, communities of practice, networks and the use of social media and online communications. Prior to joining ODI, he worked as a research assistant at Gamos Ltd, a consultancy specialising in information and communication for development. He has a BSc in Astrophysics and an MSc is Biomedical Engineering.