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Friday, 29 June 2007

World Cafe - a great way to get everyone involved

Welcome to The World Cafe

A couple of years ago, I took part in a knowledge cafe, run by David Gurteen. I wrote about it on my now deceased blog called 'Things I found'. The technique, which is openly available in a truly open source way, is a brilliant way to get true participation. I used it myself for an event which I facilitated at the start of this year.

The technique is taken from the work of the World Cafe, which can be found at their website. The Principles of the World Café are:

* Clarify the Context
* Create Hospitable Space
* Explore Questions That Matter
* Connect Diverse Perspectives
* Encourage Each Person's Contribution
* Listen Together for Patterns, Insights and Deeper Questions
* Share Collective Discoveries

They work well because:

* The future is born in webs of human conversation
* Compelling questions encourage collective learning
* Networks are the underlying pattern of living systems
* Human systems--organizations, families, communities--are living systems
* Intelligence emerges as the system connects to itself in diverse and creative ways
* Collectively, we have access to all the wisdom and resources we need

I particularly like the fact each table is covered in paper sheets and everyone is encouraged to write or draw on them. This gives the quieter members of a group an alternative way to contribute. I also like the 'consensus' approach which encourages everyone to build on others' ideas rather than to critique them.

(From the 'Things I found' archive)

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