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When You Need the Best Coffee to Spark Dialogue: Consulting Workshop Series: World Café

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In today’s business environment, management consulting firms must be ready to address client challenges and needs that will transform their business by 10 or 100 times. Tools and methods must be scaled up to ensure applicability to the widest possible audience globally.

The Consulting Workshop Series provides a good understanding of the 10 Methods of conducting Workshops that are custom designed to fit specific workshop objectives. Different methods are developed for the purpose of providing organizations the most appropriate tool necessary to support organizations to achieve operational excellence at times when a business transformation is called for.

If it is the management’s goal to facilitate collaborative dialogue and the sharing of knowledge and ideas to create a living network of conversation and action, then the World Cafe is the perfect method to undertake.

Discovering World Café

World Café is a creative process for facilitating collaborative dialogue and the sharing of knowledge and ideas to create a living network of conversation and action. Its primary objective is for ideation and to share ideas.

World Café is a simple, effective, and flexible format for hosting large group dialogue. By using World Café, organizations can plan meetings and gatherings where a unique environment is created with surprising and useful outcomes occurring.

In a nutshell, World Café is a process of helping people to remember what they already know how to do: to convene conversations that matter.

The Approach to World Café

World Café can easily be organized as it just needs one person to put all preparations together: the Café Facilitator.

  1. Preparation. As in every event, preparation is the most critical. In World Café, everything hinges on Café Facilitator. Hence, it is important that enough time is spent in the selection of Café Facilitator. A Café Facilitator sees to it that the guidelines for dialogue and engagement are put into action. He/she is responsible in so many ways. There is a need to work with the Planning Team to determine the purpose of the Café, the name of the Café, and framing the invitations. When everything is organized, the Café Facilitator is the one in charge in posing the questions or themes for rounds of conversation and make sure that the question is visible to everyone on the overhead, flipchart, or on cards at each table.  Playing a vital role in World Café preparation and actual event, the Café Facilitator can make the difference between an interesting conversation and a breakthrough thinking.
  1.  The World Café Event. This is your main event. The World Café is focused on facilitating collaborative dialogue. Conducted in several rounds, it makes sure that sufficient ideas are generated and shared.

The application of World Café is so vast in terms of use. It is very useful when there is a need to engage large groups in an authentic dialogue process. When we need to generate input, share knowledge, stimulate innovation thinking, and explore action possibilities around real-life issues and questions, World Café is the most suitable amongst various methods in the Consulting Workshop Series.
World Café can even deepen relationships and mutual ownership of outcomes in an existing group. It can create meaningful interaction between a speaker and the audience. In fact, it can effectively engage people in authentic conversation whether they are meeting for the first time or have established relationships with each other.

Like any other approaches and methods, World Café is also most suitable for specific conditions and less in selected conditions. When you are already driving toward an already determined solution or answer, World Café may not be one for you.

Interested in gaining more understanding of the World Café workshop technique? You can learn more and download an editable PowerPoint about Consulting Workshop Series: World Cafe here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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About Joseph Robinson

Joseph Robinson is the Vice President of Strategy at Flevy. Flevy is the marketplace for best practices in business management. Learn how the Fortune 100 and global consulting firms do it. Improve the growth and efficiency of your organization by leveraging Flevy's library of best practice methodologies and templates. The documents at Flevy (https://flevy.com) are of the same caliber as those produced by top-tier management consulting firms, like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, and Accenture. Most were developed by seasoned executives and consultants with 20+ years of experience. Flevy covers 200+ management topics, ranging from Digital Transformation to Growth Strategy to Lean Management. You can peruse a full list of management topics available on Flevy here. Prior to Flevy, Joseph worked as an Associate at BCG and holds an MBA from the Sloan School of Management at MIT. You can connect with Joseph on LinkedIn here.

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