M E L I A “Mediterranean Dialogue for Integrated Water Management” COORDINATION ACTION FP6 – INCO 517612 “Creating and nurturing the MELIA Community of Practice (CoP): Astrategic Knowledge Management and Dissemination Platform for the discovering and implementation of the Good Practices in IWRM based on the EU-WFD recommendations in the Mediterranean Area” MELIA Kick-off Meeting Seville, September 4-7, 2006 Juan Miguel González-Aranda
…Let’s remember again the main targets of MELIA Project: • Building a knowledge base for integrated water resources management (IWRM) planning, based on integrating contributions from different perspectives, involving the wide spectrum of stakeholders and based on the general frame defined by EU Water Framework Directive. • Develop a Mediterranean-wide awareness of the social (cultural and participatory), economic and technological issues related to water management. • Propose participatory mechanisms and prevention tools to avoid competition in resources allocation between regions states and different waters users. • Provide legislative and administrative bodies with criteria and arguments agreed in a consensual way by a wide representation of social, economic, scientific and political actors from different countries, to support sustainable water policies and economy.
Provide the intellectual basis and the indicators to perform a benchmarking exercise of Integrated Water resources management in the Mediterranean area. • Contribute to the construction of a common frame and knowledge, and to the development of a common terminology and semantic and help water negotiations …BUT… …The disseminationof the results of MELIA will be the most relevant and appreciable output, carried out by means of a wide communication strategy, addressed to all those involved actors in water use who set up the MELIA Community or Practice (CoP), in rising awareness at educational level, in research, administration and policy making. …BUT, in this sense, WHAT is a Community of Practice (CoP)?. Some important theoretical definitions to take into account…
Choosing the definition provided by Wenger/Dermott/Snyder (2002), they define CoPs as follows: ”Communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern, a set of problems, or a passion about a topic, and who deepen their knowledge and expertise in this area by interacting in an ongoing basis”.
In an initial classification criterion of the CoPs, they are divided in 2 groups: • Internal Communities of Practice: entirely within individual organizations • Communities of Practice in Network Organizations: A network organization is a relationship among independent organizations (Powell, 1990).
Communities of Practice in Network Organizations: • Member organizations in a network work in close and continuous cooperation on projects or processes involving partnerships, common products and/or services, and even a common strategy. • In solving problems in today’s environment, it is becoming increasingly important to cross boundaries, either within the organization or to unconnected organizations for fresh insights. • Learning and knowledge exchange through networks focuses on the inter-organizational network as a resource generator to enhance learning. “Networks of Practice” At this point, “extra-organizational” CoPs can be defined as networks of practice. Anetwork of practiceis an open activity system focused on work practice, and it may exist primarily through electronic communication. It is a type of CoP in that it is a social space where individuals working on similar problems help each other and share perspectives about their practice. However, in a network of practice, people working within occupations or having similar interests congregate to engage in knowledge exchange about the problems and issues that are common to their occupational community and shared practice.
“Networks of Practice” CoPs “Self-organizing” NoPs/CoPs “Formal” NoPs/CoPs A formal network of practice has a membership that is controlled by fees and/or acceptance through some central coordination authority that also assists in organizing, facilitating and supporting member communications, events, and discussion topics. A self-organizing network of practice is a loosely organized and informal network that has no central management authority or sponsor, membership is voluntary, and there is little explicit commitment. However, a network of practice has a focus on specific work issues and strategies of immediate importance to the membership, and it may in fact become an adjunct to an affinity network. An example of an affinity network is purchasing managers, members of an association who may form networks of practice where they communicate on a regular basis on strategies, practices, opportunities, and innovations.
Together with the last classification, there is a important distinction to be made: • As it was described before, there are CoPs within organisations and across organisations, but as well there are CoPs which contain others CoPs, and they don’t know the existence of each other necessarily… • These ones can be discovered by the application of Social Analysis Techniques • Additionally, despite the many similarities of these CoPs, there are also important differences that have to be considered like competition, or different organisational cultures coming together, which make rich these structures. • These initiatives have already undergone many phases. Initially, the new Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) were in the focus of many strategies. • In the last few years, attention has been paid increasingly to soft factors like culture or trust, and to personal networks. • Communities of practice (CoP) are considered as a particularly successful and promising way for Knowledge Sharing. Nowadays, communities of practice are a widespread form of knowledge sharing and learning not only in Research and Technologic Development Cooperation, but applied to other thematic areas of the Knowledge Society.
Is the MELIA CoP a Network of Practice with Formal structure attributes ???? Let’s analyse in detail the MELIA CoP Context (Theoretical Framework) Theoretical background based on the CoP Theoretical Framework (Wenger/Dermott/Snyder (2002)),Modelling which shapes the setting for the MELIA CoP:
According to these arguments, a CoP is combination of three structural elements: • The DOMAIN of knowledge, which defines the area of shared inquiry the set of issues discussed in the community; • The COMMUNITY, the members of a community, the social fabric, their motivation, and interactions; • The PRACTICE, the set of frameworks, ideas, tools, information, styles, language, stories and documents that the community members share.
The COMMUNITY is subject to a process and changes itself as time goes by. It is initiated and develops over time to the current shape and is also embedded in a political,environmental, social and economical context that is ever evolving. There is a mutual interaction between the COMMUNITY and its surrounding CONTEXT. Every CoP has some kind of output, outcome and impact. These three terms are defined as follows: OUTCOME: Results of a programme or project relative to its objectives that are generated by its respective partners’ outputs. OUTPUT: The tangible products (goods, services) of a programme or project. IMPACT: Positive and negative, primary and secondary long-term changes or effects produced by a programme or project, directly or indirectly, intended or unintended. In this sense, It is clear that depending on this positive and/or negative IMPACT the SUSTAINABILITY will/won’t be guarantee
Additionally, there are 4HIDDEN essentials are: • MOTIVATION– of its members, visible in their personal interest and in the priority they attribute to CoP in their daily activities. • MANDATE – of the concerned organisation(s) defines on one side the thematic focus with the declared interest of the organisation in a concrete outcome; on the other side, the mandate gives open space for self-commitment to its members (working time and financial resources). • A little bit of “”INFORMAL”” structure inside the official Formal NoP structure – beyond organisational boxes and lines. Most CoPs make a link between organisational units and between organisations (“flexibility”).
Legitimate peripheral participation(LPP)is a theoretical description of how newcomers become experienced members and eventually old timers of a CoP or collaborative project. • According to LPP, newcomers become members of a community initially by participating in minute and superficial yet productive and necessary tasks that contribute to the overall goal of the community. These activities are typically simple and carry low risk to the community as a whole but, are also important. • Through peripheral activities, novices become acquainted with the tasks, vocabulary, and organizing principles of the community. Gradually, as newcomers become old timers, their participation takes forms that are more and more central to the functioning of the community. • LPP suggests that membership in a community of practice is mediated by the possible forms of participation to which newcomers have access, both physically and socially. If newcomers can directly observe the practices of experts, they understand the broader context into which their own efforts fit. Conversely LPP suggests that newcomers who are separated from the experts have limited access to their tools and community and therefore have limited growth.
LPP is not reserved for descriptions of membership in formal organizations or • professions whose practices are highly defined (this is interesting…) It crucially involves participation as a way of learning —of both absorbing and being absorbed in—the “culture of practice.” by means of a “absorptive capacity” of the new knowledge created and feedbacked again by the CoP. An extended period of legitimate peripherality provides learners with opportunities to make the culture of practice theirs (Lave and Wenger, 1992) So, now it is time to answer the following “brainstorming” questions referred to the MELIA CoP:
Who is participating? What is the commitment? What is the size of the group? Where is the source of the information/knowledge/ experience? What is the inner structure of the group? What roles can be differentiated? To what extent motivation and interests are personal and to what extent mandated by the institution? What is the domain of concern (theme, topic)? Who defines it? What is the aim of the interaction? What are the working tools of the CoP Worgroups? How is the working mood of the group? What is the planned duration of the interaction (initially)? How is the group financed? Who has an interest in its financing? What kinds of results are expected? Who defines them?
MELIA CoP DOMAIN The MELIA CoP DOMAIN is based on the establishment and support of a Strategic and Sustainable Knowledge Management and Dissemination Platform for the Dialogue(Information and Knowledge Sharing !!!)with other running or past research projects and initiatives dealing with the Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM)in the Mediterranean Area and the other target objectives described in the Work Plans of its corresponding Coordination Action Technical Annex objectives. The Knowledge Thematic Areas covered by this DOMAIN are structured in the following way:
MELIA CoP COMMUNITY TheMELIA CoP COMMUNITY is structured in: • The COMMUNITY Core Group: Partnership Consortium
1 1 1 4 6 2 4 3 1 3 1 1 1 4 3 3 2 …BUT, looking at the map shown above, it is clear that although the most relevant stakeholders in IWRM are represented in the MELIA CoP COMMUNITY CORE GROUP Membership,NOT all the Mediterranean Area organizations (research centres, governments, regulators, users and providers), belong to this Consortium. In this way, they should be invited to participate as active actors in this process of Knowledge Management and Dissemination in the MELIA CoP, because of the fact that IWRM is supposed to beone of the leading topics identifies by the Monitoring Committee of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership in Science, Technology and Innovation, as a key field for the SUSTAINABLEdevelopment of the Mediterranean Countries, additionally with thegeneral purpose of opening up the European Research Area to the Mediterranean Space and the application of the principles and actions of the European Water Framework Directive (WFD) to this area.
MELIA CoP COMMUNITY The last reasoning justifies the expansion of the CORE Group to new Members for the COMMUNITY CoP, who constitute the MELIA CoP Legitimate Peripheral Participation(LPP) (“newcomers” role described in previous slides): • “SIMILAR” PROJECTS • Mainly focused on EU-INCO-MED Projects: past, current and future initiatives (WASAMED, FOGGARA, WADAMED, MED-REUNET, SED-Net DESURVEY,WADI,…) • Rest of Projects (Related to the Mediterranean Area (SEMIDE-EMWIS,EU-MEDA-WATER, MED-EUWI, EU-MEDSTAT-ENV, etc…) • Related to the rest of EU and World Areas (EU-WFD,EU-LIFE,EU-SMAP,UNEP-MAP,EXACT, INCO-DEV Asia,…) • “INDEPENDENT” IWRM EXPERTS: • As well, mainly focused on their INCO-MED Projects past, current and future initiatives participation (i.e., experts from MED7 Renewable Energies and Water Risk Management Workshop, Athens, May 2005, …) • Coming from the rest of Projects in IWRM • Related to the Mediterranean Area • Related to the rest of World Areas
MELIA CoP COMMUNITY EXPERTS FROM ANOTHER THEMATIC AREAS • For instance: Environmental Sciences, Renewable Energies, Sociology, … MELIA CoPLPP DECISION-MAKERS (which not belong to the MELIA CoP CORE GROUP) • Benefits for Decision-Makers from participation in MELIA CoP • Get access to information and know-how • Increase personal network • Facilitator for partnerships • Other benefits • Gaining power of persuasion • Being involved while remaining independent • Test new ideas and innovative solutions • Multiplier for resources • Benchmarking • Increased reputation • Other personal benefits like having fun
MELIA CoP COMMUNITY … and LAST BUT NOT LEAST: ALL THE CITIZENS • Mainly focused on the Mediterranean Area active participation: • The public concern about water is deeply rooted in the cultural basis of the Mediterranean societies, but the progressive urbanisation and industrialisation of the agricultural production, has distanced the common people on the practical issues related to water management, reducing the debate on the water related problems to technical levels or conflicts of interests between competing users of an scarce resource. • The public do not participate in these debates and this situation provokes lacks of concerns or, worse, loses of opportunities to reach a sustainable management of water with the complicity and participation of ALL users, including the common citizens. Raising awareness of the competing demands of water, and the conflicts related to this issue is one of the target of MELIA.
MELIA CoP COMMUNITY …BUT the relevance of the content is not the only reason why this community is thrive. MELIA CoP would have to cultivate a unique community spiritthat holds the group together. • The members should always be looking forward to meeting their colleagues; some consider each other as friends. This community spirit was also supported by the common events or special social events during the MELIA CoP workshops. • In the MELIA CoP - like every community of practice - individuals with different backgrounds and interest must come together.There are always hierarchies in communities, but the hierarchy among the members should only be applied on the Coordination and Managerial (Administrative) Project aspects: • Everybody feel that he or she benefit from the MELIA CoP meetings. In fact, IT IS MORE A DISTRIBUTION OF FUNCTIONS AND ROLES !!!. Some members could be more active than others; other members that could often be quite expressive; others could be more introspective. It is important for the group spirit that nobody goes to the meetings just to gain without giving something back to the group - there is a win-win-situation for everybody
MELIA CoP COMMUNITY • The interdisciplinary of the MELIA CoP COMMUNITY also led to many critical reflections and kept the discussions lively. Many of the exchanges during the MELIA CoP meetings should be quite controversial but none have ever set off irreconcilable conflicts. • A basic prerequisite for a successful CoP is mutual TRUST among its Members. People will only share knowledge if they trust each other. Trust has to be maintained again and again through intensive communication and shared experiences. • They should take care that trust is not lost. It can be destroyed very quickly and it can take a very long time to build up again. An aspect of trust is a culture of giving and taking in the CoP. Each partner has to be aware that he or she cannot only benefit from the CoP but has to contribute as well. It’s give-and-take, just like in our personal networks. Friends who only take and never give anything back will eventually be disliked.
MELIA CoP COMMUNITY • A precondition for the build up of TRUSTis setting a good balance between openness and restraint within the CoP. This one should be open to the outside, and there should be a dialogue between internal and external perspectives. • Otherwise the CoP will stew in its own juice. However, if it has too many members, coordination will become more and more difficult, and maintaining familiarity and trust among the network partners will also be more of a challenge. • If these soft factors are taken into consideration, a common spirit can grow that offers the familiar comfort of a hometown, where everybody is happy to meet people. With this spirit, internationally distributed CoP like MELIA will become vibrant and dynamic organisms in the development community that facilitate knowledge sharing.
MELIA CoP PRACTICE Initially, the PRACTICE is based on the Activities (“Tasks” to be done), Deliverables and Events described in detail by the Project Technical Annex, all of them executed through a Time Table of 48 months carried out by the MELIA CoP CORE WORKGROUP
…and additionally, the participation of the LPP Members !!!!! AN EFFICIENT GOVERNANCE COORDINATION AND MANAGEMENT PLATFORM IS NEEDED TO DEAL WITH THIS CoP PRACTICE ELEMENTS MELIA CoP GOVERNANCE STRUCTURE
MELIA CoP GOVERANCE STRUCTURE • An important question for internationally and geographically distributed CoP like MELIA is the degree of centralisation or decentralisation. Who should have responsibility, and how much? Should there be a secretariat? Should there be regional sub networks? There is no blueprint for the ideal network structure and the governance structures. Studies vary quite a lot. Nevertheless, there are some core elements that can be found in every network. • At the top of many CoPs are some well reputed chairpersons, who has a representative and strategic role. A steering committee and management board occupy a more active role, being responsible for strategic questions and operational planning. Some CoPs are tempted to enlarge such committees too much, aiming for a good representation and looking for strong connections with the most important stakeholders. • Yet the result of big committees is often that only half of the members actually participate in the meetings. This devalues the committee and frustrates those who participate. It is therefore advisable to keep the steering committee small. • In order to stay in touch with a major circle of stakeholders there is still the possibility to create a VIRTUAL committee of patrons or a supporting committee with no executive function. The members of a respected advisory committee could support the network on demand.
MELIA CoP GOVERANCE STRUCTURE • The secretariat has a central role in distributed CoPs. Because of the complexity of international scenario, an official but small secretariat is recommendable. A node is needed for CoP coordination, where the PRACTICES OF THE MELIA CoP COME TOGETHER !!!. • Without this node, a CoP Member (mainly those ones who belong to the CORE GROUP) will take over this essential role unofficially. It is a major challenge to ensure that the secretariat does not become too strong, crowding out the engagement of other Core Group Members of the CoP. The secretariat should always strive to motivate these members to be active and to support them in their work. If the secretariat remains small, this has the added advantage that associated costs can be kept within certain limits.
MELIA CoP GOVERANCE STRUCTURE Going back to the MELIA CoP DOMAIN
AN EFFICIENT INFORMATION AND KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT, SHARING AND DISSEMINATION METHODOLOGICAL PLATFORM IS NEEDED !!!
MELIA CoP INFORMATION AND KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT, SHARING AND DISSEMINATION METHODOLOGICAL APPROACH 2 essential conditions are needed to this: (1) The combination of DOMAIN, COMMUNITY and PRACTICE is what enable CoPs to manage knowledge. DOMAIN provides a common focus, COMMUNITY builds relationships that enable collective learning; and PRACTICE anchors the learning in what people do. (That’s right!!!) (2) The proper organizational context ---->GOVERNANCE STRUCTURE discussed before -> (That’s right!!!) • MELIACommunity or Practice is a strategic response to the demands for increased skills and capacities in the water sector leading towards the implementation of IWRM in the Mediterranean Area. • It starts with a STRATEGY and will going on with a STRATEGY. It connects STRATEGYwith performance through KNOWLEDGE
Note that this model Is meant to convey the logic of a CoP Based Knowledge Strategy, NOT a chronological Sequences of steps International & local knowledge Experience Documentation Research Skills Knowledge Generation (4) Information base (1) Capacities Case studies Information Adaptation & Sharing (2) Training materials Access to Information (3) The development of CoPs is bottom-up Process as well as a Top-down one Advisory Tools Training, education Trainers trained Awareness raising • The information management cycle foreseen in MELIA will assist specific knowledge functions and link them with institutions or individuals outside the network. The cycle of information management and knowledge creation will be organised in a way that the following cycle of functions is ensured: • Establishment of the information base; • Adaptation of information and sharing within the network; • Transfer of the information to target groups (water users, managers, IWRM implementers, citizens…); • Generation – or better – consolidation of common knowledge (local and global levels).
Based on this STRATEGY…Which are the expected main MELIA CoP Outputs and Outcomes ???
Although this Information and Knowledge Management, Dissemination and Sharing STRATEGY will be coordinated and managed by the WP0 (Coordination And Management), WP8 (Building Knowledge) and WP9 (Knowledge Sharing)… …this STRATEGY must be also translated to the rest of DOMAINS….BUT, HOW?: Defining a Work Package for each Domain !!! • DESIGNING, IMPLEMENTING AND SUPPORTING AN INFORMATION AND KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT, SHARING AND DISSEMINATION PRACTICAL METHODOLOGY TO ALL THE WORKPACKAGES: • DEPENDING ON THE SPECIFIC ROLE OF EACH CoP COMMUNITY MEMBER INSIDE OF THEM • INDEPENDENTLY OF THE CONSIDERED THEMATIC AREA IN EACH WORKPACKAGE
…at this point, let’s analyze in detail the previously defined MELIA CoP roles inside from the point of view of the COMMUNITY: CoP Leader (CoP Coordinator) CoP CORE GROUP (“Project Consortium”) CoP Deputy-Leader (Assistant to the CoP Coordinator) Into each Work Package (WP): Leader, Deputy Leader and WP Members At any time some of these Members could be invited by the Members of the CORE GROUP to participate actively inside each WP always under the (under the supervision and approval of the respective WP Leader and Deputy Leader) WORKFLOW PROCESSES !!!!BASED ON EACH ROLE PECULIARITIES (let’s not get ahead of ourselves, not yet…) Rest of “similar” projects, invitedexperts, decision- makers who don’t belong to the Core Group, Rest Of Citizens in general,… LPP CoP Members
…so, how is structured each Work Package (WP)?: There are 1 WP Leader, 1 Deputy Leader and the rest of WP Members • “Each Work Package will be led by a Work Package Leader, assistedby a Deputy Work Package Leader (Pn, P´n), balancing the leadership between partners from the EU and the Med countries. The WPs are subdivided in a number of tasks (see previous slides), related to concrete activities and deliverables, such as organization of Workshops and other type of events, background documents elaboration, assessment documents on technical proposals, identification of best practices, dissemination material. Each task will be organised by the Task Leader and executed with the help of the group of partners attributed to the WP” • “The WP Leader is responsible for the organization of the different tasks within the WP, the assignment of resources, the respect of the WP time-schedule and the delivery of their results to the Coordinator in due time. Each Work Package affects the work performed in the others and shares a certain number of common participants. Therefore, a good matching and coordination of activities is absolutely necessary.”
…well, this seems to be a little bit difficult to manage… Let’s sum up: Let’s introduce the concept of Work Group: In order to simplify, initially there will be only 1 Work Group per Work Package. So 1 Work Group = 1 Work Package 1 Work Package = 1 Work Group Additionally, there will be only 1 Work Group for the Steering Committee, 1 Work Group for the Management Board and 1 Work Group for the Secretariat But, how to manage all this COMPLEXITY through the 48 months of duration corresponding to the tasks and deliverables execution, taking into account that there are only 1 Kick-off Meeting, 4 Workshops 1 Seminar and 1 Final International Conference face-to-face events ????
A context-oriented platform will be first created to support spatially distributed Work Packages ( in our case = Work Groups). This is the main reason to design the user interface to be based on Web technology(INTERNET as one possible way of access) as a commonly well-understood and accepted user interface paradigm. • Virtual Work Groups have become a crucial part in the present economy. Advances of ICT enable the transfer of information across continents, time zones, and organizational boundaries. • Despite these technological developments, ‘human factors’ should not be neglected in an increasing virtual environment. • Useful as they are, ICTs cannot replace face-to-face contacts and more conventional means of communication. While ICTs continue to offer a ever-widening range of options, regular meetings, workshops or conferences are still necessary.
TRUST is important in conventional workgroups; it has been emphasized to be particularly crucial in virtual workgroups. Empirical research reveals that trust can be established in virtual workgroups, but the supportive mechanisms differ from those patterns in workgroups that cooperate on a face-to- face basis. Particularly, the early phases of workgroups formation and collaboration are crucial for trust building in a virtual context, like in the case of this KICK-OFF. • Management needs to take these specialties of trust formation in virtual workgroups into account by establishing an appropriate environment. As a ‘virtual competence’ of work group members is essential for the emergence of virtual trust, workgroup members should be trained accordingly. • Hereby, the cultural, social, and communication competencies are enhanced, and workgroup members are sensitized for the problems that can occur in a virtual workgroup context. Additionally, management needs to provide the adequate technical infrastructure that facilitates various modes of communication.