Collaboration Partners

Categories of Virtual Communities

Communities of Interest: A Community of Interest (COI) is a virtual place where people who share a common interest in a personal interest, i.e., hobby. They randomly share thoughts and LL about a specific issue. Participation in a COI is usually informal and can be entertaining and creates a feeling of belonging and friendship. There are not many rules or regulations in a COI, except for appropriate use of language and principles of respect. Examples of web-based COIs are MySpace created in 2003, Facebook introduced in 2004 and YouTube launched in 2005.

Communities of Practice: A Communities of Practice (COP) are entities who demonstrate a collaborative interest in a professional activity, i.e., project. The entities are groups of people, i.e., institutions, agencies, companies, businesses, or associations. The group evolves over time because of the members' shared involvement in a particular domain or area, or it can be created specifically with the goal of gaining knowledge related to their field. Members share best practices and LL. Examples of COPs include professional associations, i.e., the Project Management Institute (PMI) and American Evaluation Association (AEA). COPS are sometimes exclusive or restricted to the people within a profession and may require licensure or membership.

Communities of Development: A Community of Development (COD) are individuals who are focused on a specific topic or initiative. They communicate in forums in a manner referred to as threads. These individuals are primarily concerned with resolving a problem, i.e., how to fix code in a software program. A COD is typically hosted by a company in hopes of addressing technical support issues.

Abstract Communities: There are other categories and terms in use that are not easy to classify because their purpose varies or may differ depending upon the circumstances. For example, a Blog is a contraction of Web and log, and refers to journal-oriented content displayed in most recent order (last in/first out). Blogs may be used to provide commentaries on a particular topic. A blog is also a digital file that can be appended by the subscriber.

A blog can combine content, such as text, images, media files, as well as link to other information sources, i.e., web pages. The application of Blogs can vary, i.e., photographs (photoblog), videos (vlog), or audio (podcasting). Blogs used in organizations may be used to multi-author content and/or provide a vehicle for collaboration. Some blogs may take on the form of a free-form multi-user digital diary, while others Blogs are highly structured.

The benefits of using a blog include gathering and distributing ideas and information to a select group of subscribers. Blogs are also used in situations where communicating with subscribers is ineffective due to limited information access to digital files. A Wiki is a software program that allows users to create, edit, and link web pages. Collaborative websites and community websites are often created with wikis. A bliki (also known as a wikiLog) is combination of a blog and wiki.

Collaboration partners are touch-points that may be able to support your information sharing requirements for lessons learned. It is truly a quest to increase organizational capacity in this arena, which requires continuous learning and application (pre-test, test and re-test). It seems to be a moving destination and you may sometimes wonder when you will arrive. It is important to conduct comprehensive research before engaging in a LL project because each one may be unique.

When networking for improved LL performance, the "top twenty" categories should be considered in your search for collaboration partners:

  • Lessons Learned
  • Project Evaluation
  • Project Management
  • Intelligent Information Systems
  • Records Management
  • Information Management
  • Knowledge Management
  • Decision Support Systems
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Business Intelligence
  • Dashboards
  • Organizational Learning
  • Human Capital Management
  • Performance Improvement
  • Succession Planning
  • Contingency Planning
  • Strategic Planning
  • Disaster Recover Planning
  • Project Measurement
  • Project Research