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Communities of Practice and how they can offer hope for 2024 and beyond.

Health Innovation Network

I was delighted to have the opportunity to attend the Communities of Practice Leadership Development programme. This was delivered by the Health Innovation Network in partnership with the Q Community. For more information on Communities of practice, please visit this Link

While on the program, I met so many amazing people who want to make a difference in health and social care and improve wellbeing. The facilitators Cleo Butterworth and Sam Hudson created a really safe space to learn, and Amy Jackson and George Croft offered excellent back up to the programme sharing materials and being a source of information. In addition, there were so many guest speakers who shared their thoughts, ideas, and wisdom. We are grateful for COPE Scotland being offered a place to attend.

I have taken the extract below from the link above for anyone not familiar with the term ''Community of Practice''. Can I also add that there are so many tools in the network weaving resources that can also be used to help support communities of practice? For more information.


  • A community of practice (CoP) is a group of people who share a common concern, a set of problems, or an interest in a topic and who come together to fulfil both individual and group goals.
  • Communities of practice often focus on sharing best practices and creating new knowledge to advance a domain of professional practice. Interaction on an ongoing basis is an important part of this.
  • Many communities of practice rely on face-to-face meetings as well as web-based collaborative environments to communicate, connect, and conduct community activities.''

There can be many reasons why a community of practice may arise. What they have in common is a desire and willingness for individuals who share a common concern, problem, or interest to want to come together and work together to share ideas and knowledge, which can help bring about the change they share and want to see.

We do not need to look far to see the changes that are needed in the world, and we know from experience that we cannot do it alone. COPE Scotland has always sought to work in partnership with others and 2024 is a year where we intend to focus even more on collaboration and connectedness. We all know we do not need more meetings about what should happen; we do need more pulling of ideas around what we shall do and how we can support each other to do that.

We have attached a little story about the power of communities of practice; this focuses on climate action without despair. It also shows that communities of practice can evolve; they can meet others with common goals and share with them too, exchanging information and ideas so that each has more knowledge than before as well as a sense of not being alone. Others care, too. It should be noted that within Communities of Practice membership there can be differing viewpoints. Creating a psychologically safe space to debate respectfully enables the diversity of opinions to be heard from which the new paradigm shifts can occur.

We need others to complement and develop our own expertise. This collective character of knowledge does not mean that individuals don't count. In fact, the best communities welcome strong personalities and encourage disagreements and debates. Controversy is part of what makes a community vital, effective, and productive."

by - Etienne Wenger, Cultivating Communities of Practice: A Guide to Managing Knowledge
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