I am extremely amazed by your answers. Really, it helps me a lot!
All of you are doing a great job. You are very serious about my question. You share your inner beliefs, your experiences, and patterns which work for you. And all I can find in this thread somehow makes sense to me. I love you for doing this.
One could think that we could be forming a community now We have an interesting topic and there is passion for the topic. I somehow can find vision, mission, and value statements in your answers above.
Anyhow, I start to understand that it will not work without a "call to action".
I am still hesitant in taking the first step with my teams. But I understand now, that the most important step is to take the first step - to get something started, which is accepted by my teams.
The first step seems to ask for some formalism. When to meet, where to meet, what to talk about, which kind of results to produce. It is this simple framing, which will provide a benchmark to me and my teams. And it is the start for retrospectives.
Retrospectives seems to be the key to learning and improving also in here, when we are building communities of practice. It is the only way to ensure that the communities are not run for the purpose of sacrificing the needs of individuals, which seek for answers for their problems, but having the teams itself driving the learning. Thereby, to some major degree it will be up to the culture of the teams, if it turns out that they will be looking for more structure and guidance or for more autonomy.
So the center of my thinking is not that much about taking the first step anymore, which can be achieved by some formalism. The center of my thinking is turning over to the question, how I can ensure continuous learning and improvements to make the communities work in an adequate way. And there again I wonder how to make this work for people contributing in the community and for people benefiting from the community. These are very similar question like those to be addressed in an agile team setup again, whereas now the clients are the teams itself.
Following the "call to action" I should start taking action - accept experiments, accept failure, accept learnings, and find out step by step how it works for my teams. Presumably this is what you are telling to me already.
P.S. I am sorry, that my thoughts are wandering around that much. It seems to be difficult for me to get focus. I am somehow trying to follow all of your thoughts. But it might be difficult to follow my thoughts therefore. Please ask questions if something is too confusing
P.P.S. I have to admit that I hate to come to that conclusion that it is all about retrospectives again. Retrospective seems to become the solution to everything, which bears the risk for them to become arbitrary - just as "workshops" and "brainstorming".