Empowering ADB-Hosted Communities of Practice
Communities of Practice (CoPs) are groups of people who share a passion for something they know how to do and who interact regularly to learn how to do it better.
Informal peer groups emerged in the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in the 1990s but only in 2002 did they find their footing in ADB's organizational structure. That year, a bank-wide reorganization gave birth to 19 sector and thematic networks intended to promote cross-fertilization of knowledge across departments.
In the first few years of their operation, the committees and networks were hampered by many factors. In 2005, the recommendations of an independent panel commissioned to assess the effectiveness of ADB’s reorganization prompted a consolidation of the networks. Their number was reduced to 10, and the term “community of practice” or "CoP" entered the picture.
Interventions ranging from budget increases to integration in ADB operations have helped CoPs gain a foothold in ADB. The interventions included higher budgets, streamlined guidelines for thematic and sector reporting, new peer review guidelines, CoP work in performance reviews, and CoPs as partners in recruitment.
Between 2005 and 2011, four more CoPs were established, bringing the total number of ADB-hosted CoPs to 14. Over the 2 years of action plan implementation, CoPs demonstrated they have become the heart and soul of knowledge generation and sharing in ADB.