Do you belong to a community of practice (CoP)? You may, and not even know it! A community of practice is a group of people informally bound by shared expertise and a passion for a joint enterprise.* At the MLC, we’re constantly developing CoPs for people who are involved in Lean, quality, and continuous improvement efforts in healthcare, legal, manufacturing, academia, non-profits, human resources, government, and utilities, and we’re open to your ideas for new CoPs. We’ve made it easy by developing standard work and sharing best practices across communities.
At the core of the work we do, we leverage our knowledge of continuous improvement using Lean principles for the benefit of our organizations. Belonging to a CoP can be an important part of your personal Lean “knowledge management” system. Whatever your position is, you can benefit from the knowledge and networking you’ll get from participating in a community of practice. As a result of my engagement with colleagues at other organizations, I’ve had new opportunities, sounding boards for problems I encounter, and friends who support me. Through my communities of practice, I’ve learned about resources I wouldn’t have found on my own and had helping hands keep me from stumbling into pitfalls I didn’t know about. Sometimes, it’s only my friends in my CoP who can celebrate a success with me, because others don’t always understand how hard something was to do!
There aren’t any rules about how a CoP should function. As a group, you can meet at a cadence that works for you. Your group can decide if you want to pursue projects, provide training to members, share stories, collaborate, and/or celebrate success. In the MLC, our CoPs develop a charter that guides the activities of the group, but this is a living, breathing document. The group can choose to modify it at any time.
Let us know if you want to join an existing community of practice, or start a new one! We’ll connect you.
*Communities of Practice, 1999, Wenger & Snyder, Harvard Business Review
MLC Board of Directors
Technology & Social Media Liaison
Learn more about the MLC's Communities of Practice!