The Problem: Many Perspective, Few Voices

Large formal meetings are often dominated by a few key voices with many people unwilling to contribute. Yet large gatherings of people are necessary for changing large organisations, so how can you harness the collective wisdom and enthusiasm of many people and allow them to genuinely think and explore ideas informally?  

 

The Solution: World Café

The World Café process is designed to encourage relaxed, informal yet purposeful conversations to take place in small café style grouping of six or so people who regularly move around between tables. Useful in many contexts to reduce the intimidating effects of speaking up in large groups, it excels when the objective is to have discursive and exploratory conversations.

 

WORLD CAFE recreates the atmosphere of a creative lunch in a relaxed setting by seating people around tables, without managed facilitation, and allowing them go where their ideas take them - and to write them down on the tablecloth as they occur.  This allows all members of the organisation to contribute to discussions about why and how to change, preventing the usual confident voices from dominating proceedings.

World Café excels when people want to work together to explore a particular topic; it allows existing organisational knowledge and wisdom to merge, supporting good decision-making.
— Sarah Lewis; Founder and MD of Appreciating Change
Some comments include:
- the ‘silent majority gets its voice back’
-suggestion to use ‘Cafe rules’ for meetings to reign back and moderate inappropriate behaviour; having different types of meetings and more frequent ones.
-staff want a ‘place’ to meet up - and like the idea of a ‘faculty space’ - to have more ‘unofficial chats’
— Pat Brereton; School of Communication Dublin City University - responses to World Cafe event

Want to see the types of changes these methods can bring about? Have a look at What We Can Help You With