How can you build a successful community of practice that is integrally linked to your company's strategic vision? Learn from the first-hand experience of Hubert Saint-Onge, recognized by Fortune magazine as a leader in the field of knowledge capital, and co-author Debra Wallace, the people responsible for a recent project to establish a community of practice for independent agents at Clarica Life Insurance Company— voted one of the most admired knowledge enterprises in the world by practitioners and researchers. 'Leveraging Communities of Practice for Strategic Advantage' combines theory and practice to outline a model for developing successful communities of practice and proposes a direction for establishing communities of practice as an integral part of the organizational structure. Saint-Onge and Wallace relate what worked, what didn't, and why as they tell the story from inception through implementation to assessment. Whether you're developing communities of practice or want to learn how to leverage existing communities for strategic gain, this book provides you with everything you need to launch successful communities of practice in your organization.

Key Features

* Hubert Saint-Onge has been recognized by Fortune magazine as a leader in the area of leveraging knowledge capital * Clarica has been voted one of the most admired knowledge enterprises in the world by practitioners and researchers * Combines theory and practice to outline a model for developing successful communities of practice


Knowledge professionals worldwide, KM practitioners and consultants, innovation strategists and policy makers, some managers and executives.

Table of Contents

Introduction; Setting the context for communities of practice: Increasing capabilities in the knowledge-driven organization; Communities of practice: high-trust vessels for increasing capabilities; Situating communities of practice in a strategic context; A Blueprint for Building Communities of Practice; Building communities of practice as a strategic tool: The community development process model; Phase I: community design and launch; Phase II: community implementation and growth; Establishing community value: measurement and reflection; Creating communities: a course of action; Community design and launch: illustration of activities; Community implementation and growth: illustration of activities; Communities as catalysts for change; Appendix: Community development: quick-start toolkit.


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© 2003
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About the authors

Hubert Saint-Onge

Hubert Saint-Onge is the Chief Executive Officer of Konverge Digital Solutions Corp., a Toronto-based firm of practitioners that implements fully integrated knowledge strategies based on optimized business processes and custom technology solutions. Mr. Saint-Onge is also the former Senior VP, Strategic Capabilities at Clarica Life Insurance Company, Waterloo, Ontario.

Debra Wallace

Debra Wallace, Ph.D., is Consultant, Knowledge and Learning Strategy Development, Sun Life Financial Canada. She is responsible for developing the knowledge and learning strategy for the newly combined Sun Life Financial and Clarica Life Insurance Company organizations.


"Fantastic. We have been waiting for a book like this: the unabridged story of building a strategic, web-based community of practice in an organization that has made a full commitment to the idea. You get it all: the conceptual framework, the business rationale, the detailed processes and workplans, the successes and the missteps, the actual documents used, and the vision of where it is all going. A must-read for anyone serious about building strategic capabilities in organizations." - Etienne Wenger, co-author, "Cultivating Communities of Practice" "This book is so valuable because it is intellectually stimulating and at the same time, it's chock full of practical advice. Through their success at Clarica, Hubert Saint-Onge and Deb Wallace have risen above all of the chatter about collaboration and have given us a best-of-breed primer for people who want to get results from communities of practice." - Diane Hessan, President & CEO of Communispace Corporation, author, "Customer-Centered Growth: 5 Strategies for Building Competitive Advantage" "Practical, focused, specific, detailed. It doesn't get any better than this! If you are looking for a case study in supporting and leveraging communities of practice for business success - this is it. Saint-Onge and Wallace have created an indispensable guide for increasing knowledge sharing and learning across the organization." - Verna Allee, author, "The Knowledge Evolution" and "The Future of Knowledge" "Hubert Saint-Onge and Deb Wallace point us to the undeniable core foundation of knowledge management -- that it is, first and foremost, a collaborative and uniquely human activity. Their book goes beyond a simple focus on technology to provide a wealth of strategies and tools for the more challenging, and ultimately more valuable work of engaging people directly in the creation and use of knowledge."