World Cafés create a fluid conversation around questions that matter. A Café Conversation supports and encourages dialogue, sharing knowledge and creating possibilities for action in groups of all sizes.
We will use a series of questions to stimulate the sharing of ideas about how we can mitigate natural disasters. The questions are based on four topics: 1) Governance, 2) People, 3) Codification, and 4) Knowledge.
We will ask:
An overview of the World Café approach is included here courtesy of Laurie Pearce and a more comprehensive version can be downloaded in pdf format.
- How would you improve the existing combination of public and private sector governance of natural hazard disaster mitigation, to significantly increase societal resilience to natural disasters?
For instance: Should critical infrastructure owners operate a Trusted Information Network, as in Australia? Does devolution of mitigation strategies to the municipal level increase resilience?
- Do societal structures engage people in mitigation?
For instance: Are individuals self motivated to reduce their risk to natural disasters? Are the mechanisms in place to provide opportunities to increase resilience (e.g. insurance, wealth, knowledge)?
- Are existing code and standards systems working and can they or new ones be used more effectively?
For instance: Are mechanisms like the National Building Code strengthening resilience? Is present land-use legislation enough? Are existing codes and standards being effectively applied? Does infrastructure in transportation corridors need better construction guidelines?
- Which aspects of our system of generating and using disaster mitigation knowledge can be improved?
For instance: Do you have the knowledge you need? Do you feel you effectively use what is known, and if not, how could the situation be changed? Are key decision makers connected effectively to mitigation knowledge? If a researcher publishes an article on mitigation is it like a tree falling in a forest with no one around to hear it make a sound?
Download Overview of World Café
What is the World Café?
World Café Conversations are an intentional way to create a living network
of conversation around questions that matter. A Café Conversation is
a creative process for leading collaborative dialogue, sharing
knowledge and creating possibilities for action in groups of all
Café As Metaphor
The World Café is a metaphor. It's a guiding image, a scenario of
possibility, and an innovative set of tools and methods for evolving
collective intelligence and creative futures.
As a guiding image, the World Café helps us appreciate the importance
and connectedness of the informal webs of conversation and social
learning through which we:
Between individuals and within organizations, we generate meaning as a result
of the quality of the conversations in which we participate. In fact,
we create our world and its future through a process of connecting
with each other, sharing knowledge and know-how, and building
relationships--all through the process of collaborative conversation
- Discover shared meaning
- Access collective intelligence
- Bring forth the future
A Natural Process
We evolve ourselves as individuals and as societies in conversation. The
process is so natural to us that we often forget to notice it. Think
of all the conversations that go on in an organization as "tables"
at the organization's Café. In the course of daily life, people in
the organization move from table to table, carrying seed ideas and
learnings from one conversation to another. The connections among the
ideas shared at these tables inside and outside the organization--and
the actions that emerge from this web of conversations--help to build
the organization's knowledge base and shape its future.
The World Café is:
- Our growing collective awareness of the connectedness of these conversations and the importance of the collective learning and knowledge they generate. As our "collective intelligence becomes aware of itself" we become powerful resources for bringing forth the future at increasing levels of scale.
- A specific conversational process--a kind of Café know-how that enables you to create welcoming environments in which new knowledge, new relationships, and creative insights can emerge, focused on the real life issues in your own organization or community.
World Café Know How
The key to creating a successful World Café conversation is employing the seven guiding principles, which when used in combination foster
courageous conversations and collective intelligence.
The World Café process is particularly useful in the following situations:
The Café is less useful when:
- When you want to generate input, share knowledge, stimulate innovative thinking, and explore action possibilities around real life issues and questions
- To engage people--whether they are meeting for the first time, or are in established relationships--in authentic conversation
- To conduct in-depth exploration of key strategic challenges or opportunities
- To deepen relationships and mutual ownership of outcomes in an existing group
- To create meaningful interaction between a speaker and the audience
- To engage groups larger than 12 (we've had up to 1200) in an authentic dialogue process
- You are driving toward an already determined solution or answer
- You want to convey only one-way information
- You are making detailed implementation plans
- You have fewer than 12 people (better to use a more traditional dialogue circle, council or other approach for fostering authentic conversation)