Let's look at an organization that cultivates
communities of practice and fosters long-term relationships.
UK charity, Macmillan Cancer Support,
is committed to improving the lives of people affected by cancer.
It's best known for its 2,700 Macmillan
nurses who give support and advice to people living with the disease.
However, the charity also maintains
close relationships with doctors including some 100 GPs.
Macmillan GPs are general practitioners
or family doctors with a particular interest in people with cancer.
They work within the UK's National Health Service.
And they receive funding or protected time from Macmillan,
which typically gives them one day a week to spend on
educating their peers and influencing cancer services in their region.
In recent years, Macmillian has been exploring the value of working with GPs,
not just as individuals,
but also as members of a Macmillan GP community.
What's more, Macmillan's work with GPs is strongly influenced by service users.
In Macmillan's case, this means people who have cancer
themselves and family and informal carers of cancer patients.
The way that this works is that the charity
supports the number of patients and carer groups,
each of which focuses on a particular project or community.
Macmillan enables both GPs and service users to meet and share
their experiences so each community can develop its own collective voice.
This gives the organization far greater influence than it would otherwise
had as a voluntary organisation with just 700 employees.