World Café – trendy buzzword or ingeniously simple concept?

Konferenz mit TischgruppenIn discussions about brainstorming with our customers, who are currently planning a large group event, we find that “World-Café” is a term for many event managers and event organizers but many aspects are still hidden. While organizational developers and systemic consultants have been dealing with large groups since the late 1980s, event seekers looking for participative formats have only just discovered the added value that a format like the World Café can bring with them – assuming everything is done right! Because the efficiency of the format benefits greatly from digitization, we take this as an opportunity to briefly introduce the areas of  applicationprocess und  principles of a World-Café

What is a World-Café?

Essentially, a World Café, such as the Open Space Technology or the Future Search Model of the Future Conference, is a large-scale group intervention. In the systemic consultation you also speak of organization conference formats. These aim to  activate the participant’s knowledge, to bring it together over a period of usually a few hours and thereby contribute to an immediate change of individual behavior or entire organizations.

A World Café is an obvious choice when it comes to forming a common working basis of one to three hours. For example, in a KickOff, for a joint strategy development or for starting the development of action plans. The core of the format is the networking of small-group dialogues, the results of which can be integrated into the ensuing large-scale dialogue. Digitization of a World Cafés by teambits:interactive improves the production of results, their evaluation and reuse.

The format accelerates the transition between plenary and group work phases transition between plenary and group work. Behind this is the idea that just the pleasant atmosphere of conversation of a smaller group helps the participants to break down barriers and to participate informally in the conversation.

Expiry of a World Café

  1. Preparatory communication to the participants prior to the event
  2. cIntroductory wording on the purpose and purpose of the World Café
  3. Classification of participants in groups of 4 to 6 participants
  4. At the tables table hosts (the so-called host) receive first groups of participants at their tables and explain the “rules of conversation”
  5. Participants then move to their next table after 30-minutes of discussion
  6. The hosts greet the new diners and summarize the results of the previous group
  7. Overall, there are usually 3 rounds
  8. The results of each table are merged centrally and then
  9. finally presented to the large group.

This simple process is conducive to finding solutions to complex problems. That is why he enjoys a steadily increasing popularity in processes of change and in the search for disruptive innovation potential.

The decisive advantage: The organizer is able to activate and query the collected knowledge of the persons involved. In the context of an event, therefore, can that be realized what would take several months in a traditional consultation process. Digitalisierung mit teambits:interactive bringt dabei eine nochmalige Digitization with teambits:interactive brings a further increase in efficiency with it, because preparation and follow-up efforts can already be made during the course or shortly after the current event and can be significantly improved in terms of quality.

Basic principles of a digitized World-Café?

  • Clearly communicate the meaning and process of the World-Café.
    In order to be able to successfully complete and conclude a World-Café, web-based apron measures and interactive event execution are interlinked using teambits:interactive.
  • Design of a pleasant coffee house atmosphereIt favors creativity. In addition to place settings with flowers and drinks, your own smartphone is also part of the informality.
  • The question design must be relevant. With teambits:interactive, it is designed to be solution-focused.
  • To motivate active participation. This is central for the success of a World Café. Thanks to the teambits:interactive, the activity level remains at a consistently high level over the entire expiry time frame.
  • Heterogeneous groups are more productive. With teambits:interactive the seating in the table groups can be controlled in order to capture all perspectives through heterogeneous group compositions.
  • The table hosts integrates talks at his table along the leading questions and motivatied participants to deal intensively with the respective matter and to participate actively in the table dialogue. teambits:interactive offers diners the necessary infrastructure, access to key questions and materials
  • Make common results visible. Participants are invited to write down their thoughts or present them in sketches on paper. With teambits:interactive these notes are compiled. Sketches can be processed as images. The developed material will be presented together to all participants of the World-Café.

Literature and further links:

  • Brown, Juanita/Isaacs, David: The World Café. Shaping Our Futures Through Conversations That Matter, McGraw-Hill Professional 2005
  • Seliger, Ruth: Einführung in Großgruppen-Methoden, 2007
  • Scholz, Holger/Vesper, Roswitha/ Haussmann, Martin: Lernlandkarte Nr.2 – World Café, Neuland
  • World Café bei Wikipedia: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/World-Caf%C3%A9
  • World Café Community Foundation: http://www.theWorld-Café.com/