Organisations are under pressure to cultivate talent for innovation. Communities of practice may support them, as long as they can unfold naturally and are not limited to "modular construction processes".
“For most companies, the ability to innovate is now the single most important predictor of future growth”, writes the Economist Intelligence Unit back in 2009. Meanwhile, organisations have realised that they need a global footprint for innovation. In other words, organisations are under pressure to push for passion and cultivate talent for innovation. But how to live it?
Current notion of passion
Somehow, organisations have started to design, launch and scale CoP for the purpose of innovation. I’ll be honest with you – the idea of “plotting out” a CoP scares me as much as the current notion of passion. We don’t usually wake up and know what we are passionate about, do we? And we don't let ourselves be pushed to passion and creativity either. Rather, we need to work hard to find our passion, we struggle and fail while we keep experimenting.
Experience a spark of new
Undoubtedly, a successful CoP needs characters, a setting, a beginning, a middle and an end, just like a good story. Also, it needs a spark of new and a shot of proper facilitation. However, launching a CoP is like preparing the soil in your garden. Cultivating innovative spirit among CoP members is like nurturing the plants - for days, weeks, months even. Participating in a CoP does not only demand good storytelling skills, but also enthusiasm, engagement, and authentic passion. Participating in a CoP is putting maximum effort. It's digging deeper, it's experiencing how we ignite the spark inside ourselves and start being passionate about what we do.
Ignore chapter outlines
As an experienced CoP facilitator, I can certainly write a sentence or two for each CoP chapter, so I have a rough idea of where things will go. However, I believe that the best stories are written by CoP members who put in focus, quality time and genuine passion. They are the ones who understand the logic of their stories and why they matter. CoP facilitation is the ability to ignore previous chapter outlines and make unexpected but obvious connections between seemingly unrelated things in these stories. Facilitating a CoP is the ability to support CoP members in being deeply, truly involved with work that energises them. That’s what we call passion. Or creativity. And creativity leads to innovative spirit, which ideally leads to innovation.