‘How can we enhance our capacity to talk and think more deeply together about the critical issues facing our communities, our organisations, our nations, and our planet?’
The World Café: Shaping our Futures Through Conversations that Matter, Juanita Brown, 2005
What is the World Café?
The World Café method is a discussion group aimed at involving individuals with a problem/ issue more closely to collect insight and foster constructive dialogue, and can sometimes be used as a decision-making aid. It has been utilised by community organisations, government and corporations.
This method can involve any number of participants—from tens to hundreds.Participants will be engaged in a series of curated exercises by co-ordinators, designed to encourage participation in the discussion of new ideas.
Generally speaking the World Café will be comprised of groups of around 4 or 5 people per table, which may even be set up to resemble café tables with checked tablecloths, flowers and nibbles. Participants rotate tables in 10-30 minute rounds of discussion. The participants scatter after each round—all going to different tables, with a new group formed every time. Each round is facilitated by a table host who remains and, therefore, maintains the table’s memory of previous discussions. Previous input is shared with the new group. There is no limit to the number of rounds. The purpose is to touch on different aspects of the problem/issue, to deepen discussion/understanding and generate ideas, sometimes in order to establish the extent of common ground.