World Cafe

World Cafe8 is built on the assumption that people already have within them the wisdom and creativity to confront and resolve even the most difficult challenges. World Cafe Conversations are an intentional strategy for creating a living network of conversation around questions that matter. As such it's a good technique to use when the questions are known but the answers are not.

A Cafe Conversation is a creative process for leading collaborative dialogue, sharing knowledge and creating possibilities for action in groups of all sizes.

A World Cafe should be viewed as a guiding image, a scenario of possibility, and an innovative process for tapping collective intelligence and a creative future. Instead of focusing on problem solving and blame assigning, World Cafe focuses on asking questions that invite the exploration of possibilities and then helps connect them to what we care about.


Cafe Etiquette

  • Focus on what matters
  • Contribute your own thinking
  • Speaking your mind and heart
  • Listen to understand
  • Link and connect ideas
  • Listen together for insights and deeper questions
  • Share discovers
  • Play, doodle, draw!


How Does It Work?

  1. Three rounds of conversation of approximately 20 - 30 minutes each will take place.
  2. The first conversation will begin at the table where you are currently seated.
  3. Assign a table 'host'. The host is responsible for reminding people to jot down key connections, ideas, discoveries, and deeper questions as they emerge. The host will remain at the table when others leave for the next round. The host will welcome travelers from other tables and share key insights from the prior conversation so others can link and build using ideas from their respective tables.
  4. Base the conversation on the questions shown on the table handout.
  5. At any time during each round of conversation, use the blank pages on the table to bring 'Key Insights' and 'Ideas for Action' to the attention of the larger group. These pages should be posted on the main bulletin boards.
  6. When the end of the first conversation is signaled, each participant will move to a new table (preferably one where they don't know everyone) to link and build the conversations to new connections and insights.
  7. During or after any one of the rounds of conversation, also take the time to complete the 'Personal Commitment Card'.


Sample Questions for a World Cafe Conversation:

  1. Describe a situation where you have felt you were truly part of a vibrant community.
  2. What can be done in ____________to make it a vibrant community?
  3. What can I do to contribute to making ____________ a vibrant community?


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