Ok, I’m now back home after a nice conference. Instead of giving full recaps, I’m going to write a string of posts on lessons learned from Evaluation 2011. I’m going to start with my first session: Topical Interest Groups as Communities of Practice: Strategies for building a community of practice.
Is it a network or a community? In other words, what level of involvement, or potential involvement, exists? This question was essential to the think tank discussion. The consensus answer seemed to be, a little from column A and a little from column B. Some people rally around a topic while others just check the box of a shared interest.
I think it’s ok to have a kind of hybrid community/network. It’s hard to expect total active participation in every group. But, as was expressed, if you want an active group, find some common goals, communicate these goals, and provide leadership.
There was further discussion around the idea of linking the TIGs globally. I put out the idea of an aggregate blog, kind of like what I setup for Eval Central but I’m not sure I clearly articulated my point. Other points on this topic included inviting other TIGs into discussions and shared activities.
All in all, a nice first session providing lots of food for thought.