If we’re bracing for a brave new world defined by climate change and increasing uncertainty – coupled with the unceasing commitment to create meaningful work that sustains people and planet – we can’t overstate the need for strong communities of practice: groups of practitioners who can develop beneficial relationships with each other and help each other along. In order to move from a network of people who know about similar and complementary work to organizational structures that truly encourage and incubate innovation, supports need to be created that encourage this kind of collaboration.
Etienne Wenger, the author and organizational consultant who first coined the term, describes the concept:
Communities of practice are formed by people who engage in a process of collective learning in a shared domain of human endeavor: a tribe learning to survive, a band of artists seeking new forms of expression, a group of engineers working on similar problems, a clique of pupils defining their identity in the school, a network of surgeons exploring novel techniques, a gathering of first-time managers helping each other cope.
The Meaningful Work Project offers a way to engage in the conversation about Communities of Practice, a central organizing point for moving forward.