Have you ever been to a meeting that was so dull and uninspiring that you couldn’t wait to leave? Well, traditional meetings can be pretty dull and unproductive, which is why the World Café activity was created!
This participatory conversation method encourages open dialogue and the exchange of ideas, making meetings more collaborative, creative, and engaging. It was developed in the late 1990s by Juanita Brown and David Isaacs. It has since been used by organizations, businesses, schools, and community groups worldwide.
So when should you use the World Café activity?
It’s perfect for meetings where participants need to explore complex issues, brainstorm ideas, and generate solutions. It’s also great for team-building sessions, group discussions, and problem-solving meetings. In fact, it can even be used in large events and conferences to facilitate breakout sessions and interactive discussions,
Here’s how it works
Participants are divided into small groups of four to five people seated at round tables. The tables are covered with paper; participants are given markers or pens to jot down their ideas. Then, each group is assigned a specific question or topic related to the meeting’s objective.
Participants discuss the question or topic for a set period, usually around 20 to 30 minutes. During this time, they share their thoughts, ideas, and experiences with each other while jotting down their key points on the paper tablecloth. Once the time is up, each group sends a representative to the next table to share their ideas and add to the previous group’s discussion. Finally, the representative summarizes their group’s conversation, and the new group builds on the ideas presented.
This process is repeated for several rounds until all groups have had a chance to discuss each question or topic. At the end of the activity, participants gather for a final debrief and reflection, where they share insights and key takeaways.
But what are the benefits of the World Café activity?
Well, there are many! For one, it enhances collaboration and creativity among participants. By encouraging open dialogue and the free flow of ideas, the World Café activity fosters innovation. It ensures that everyone can contribute their thoughts and ideas, regardless of their position or role in the group. It also promotes active listening and effective communication, which leads to better understanding and collaboration. Finally, it allows participants to explore complex issues and generate solutions collectively, resulting in more effective problem-solving.
The World Café activity is a fantastic technique that can make your meetings more productive, collaborative, and engaging. It’s perfect for groups that need to brainstorm ideas, explore complex issues, or generate solutions. So next time you’re planning a meeting, why not give it a try? Your participants will thank you!
If you are interested in having a World Cafe session at your next meeting or conference, we can help. Contact us today to schedule a quick complimentary consultation, or visit our Custom Meeting & Retreat Facilitation services page.