FACILITATION

World Café

The World Café is a powerful workshop method for fostering dialogues within groups. It enables participants to contribute opinions, experiences and ideas into shared learnings and insights.
Goals
  • Enable group discussion and decision making
  • Collecting and linking ideas on a topic
Tool themes
  • Exploration of topics in larger groups
Information
Group size 1 - 1000 people
Time 90 minutes
Material Post-its, paper sheets, markers and a timer
Level Medium
Facilitation Pro
Before you start
The World Café lets a group tap into the collective intelligence of all its members. It optimizes discussion by breaking a topic down into key aspects. These are formulated as questions and assigned to smaller subgroups to be answered in a visual way. 
Set up the room with smaller groupings of tables and up to 6 chairs. Cover each table surface with sheets of flipchart paper and provide Post-its and markers. This is what the subgroups will use to visualize their ideas and build on each others’ contributions.

STEP 1

Introduce the activity to the group, and make sure they’re clear on the guidelines: that everyone should contribute and listen actively to one another. Explain that they should sketch their thoughts and ideas on the Post-its and table covering, link and connect ideas while collaboratively looking for patterns, insights and connections.


STEP 2

Present the central question to the group. For example, this could be something like, “How can we increase customer conversion in our company?” Then facilitate a discussion in which the question is broken down into three key aspects, sub-themes or sub-questions. These are what the group will be brainstorming around next.Write these aspects down on three large Post-it notes for each table. Visualize the main question or topic on a whiteboard, with the three aspects arranged below as columns.


STEP 3

Ask the participants to take a seat at one of the tables, thus separating themselves into subgroups. Each subgroup is now asked to select one moderator, who will lead the discussion and also remain at that same table throughout the rest of the exercise.


STEP 4

Kick off the first round of discussion by setting the timer for 10-20 minutes. Every participant should use the Post-it notes and markers to visualize their ideas. These will remain on the tables even after that subgroup moves on in the next round.


STEP 5

Once the time is up, ask the subgroups (excluding the moderators) to move to the next table and discuss the respective question there. During each round of discussion, encourage participants to build on top of others’ ideas. Repeat this process step as often as feels appropriate, setting the timer for each new round.


STEP 6

Now it’s time to collect and assess. Assign 5-10 minutes for each subgroup to cluster their table’s insights on each of the three topics. Ask them to label each cluster with a keyword and once again visualize it on a large Post-it.


STEP 7

Invite the moderators to the whiteboard to present their table’s main findings in a joint sharing round. Each moderator gets 5 minutes. The concluding Post-its are displayed on the whiteboard within their respective column.

STEP 8

Lastly, wrap up by facilitating a 10-minute debriefing on the results with the entire group. What new insights and connections can people see? What other discoveries were made?

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