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A Community of Practice for connecting communities: summary

Papers prepared by David Wilcox 2017-18.

The essence of the proposals here is that London citizens, groups and organisations need better networked communication and support, as traditional voluntary sector systems are reduced, and technology changes our economy and society. This cannot be achieved solely through the proposed Hub for London, with five or six staff. We need a community and network of change agents, with skills in network mapping and building, digital technology and self-organising, to work with those already engaged in the field.

Update: during March 2018 we will be developing a social network map of people engaged in mapping, community and network building, leading up to an event on March 27. We hope that will provide the basis for a Community of Practice. More info from


The context for these proposals for a Community of Practice is threefold:

  • plans by London Funders and Greater London Volunteering to develop a Hub for London as a resource centre for London civil society. This was the key recommendation from a report on The Way Ahead
  • an exploration by Connecting Londoners and Our Way Ahead concluding that a networked approach is needed, complementing or extending the work of the Hub.

As a member of the advisory group for the Hub for London, representing Our Way Ahead until February 2018, I prepared a paper that aimed to draw together all recommendations and find common ground between The Way Ahead initiative, Connecting Londoners and Our Way Ahead.

I presented the final proposals for a CoP - 4 below - at a meeting of the advisory group on February 1. The group agreed to consider them further. I retired from the group because I want to promote the idea of the CoP independently, and as a freelance feel there could be conflict of interest in seeking funding.

1. Initial model for a Community of practice October 2017

In summary: bring together a group of people interested in how to build networks and support network-based action. Develop both a learning network and practical activities that can attract clients and funding. Use the network tools to learn how to build networks in practice.

2. CoP discussion after the Hub game in November 2017

A workshop on November 16 2017 at London Metropolitan University took the key elements from official reports on the Hub - the challenges, ideas and methods to develop solutions - and turned these into props for a role-playing game. Discussion at the end centred around developing a platform for change agents, or Community of Practice. We followed up with a meeting of people interested, in December.

3. Proposals for a Community of Practice to Hub for London

I prepared these more detailed proposals in November 2017, on behalf of Connecting Londoners and Our Way Ahead, for the advisory group on the Hub for London, of which I was a member at the time.

4. Summary of CoP proposals for advisory group to the Hub for London

I presented these proposals to the Hub for London advisory group on February 1 2018

The diagram builds on proposals in the documents Extending the Hub and a Community of Practice for networking London civil society, referenced above. In summary what’s needed is a community of people keen to learn how to build networks bottom-up and bottom-across in local communities and pan-London, together with support, service providers, and advisers. Activities would include meet-ups, an online platform, and on-the-ground activities to map and build networks.

5. Setting up an RSA network

One of the options I'm exploring is setting up a Community of Practice/network with support from the RSA, because at least six of us involved in Connecting Londoners and Our Way Ahead are RSA Fellows.

More about Networked City, Connecting Londoners and Our Way Ahead

cop/copindex.txt · Last modified: 2018/03/14 15:57 by davidwilcox