My acronym means nothing to readers outside of my / our story. Today’s anecdote is an example of exploration for answers to questions that matter. My RRB6 represents the body of people who think about such questions by using a method called The World Café. The group wants to understand more about the complex times that we live in.
Six years ago, a group of English teachers huddled in a lunchroom to discuss reading. They wanted to revive the clubs they had in the past. Someone blurted out, “Let’s call the club Revive Reading Books.”
Thus, they created RRB. And we began our sixth year January 2022 (RRB6). How did our group sustain itself over the course of six years?
Reading choices cover various genres, and RRB agrees upon book selections. So as national dialogue shifted conversation about racial allies, the club responded.
Most meetings are at a café where we chat and socialize. We then dive into salient points that surface from a book’s themes. We talk, listen to each other; and discover various perspectives. Discussions challenge the group to change old ways of understanding especially about racial issues. Open-mindedness unfolds because of generative communication.
Respect for our collective matters even if one doesn’t agree. RRB’s collaboration reflects elements of The World Café. Its teamwork centers around real life issues.
Training for sustainability
Sustainability, a fiduciary output, or actions we take, should be reproducible. Right? We like to propose ideas, set timelines, track growth, and check successes. Preferring an age-ole model produces the same ole-results at times.
Search for generative solutions from living systems! Switch things up.
The World Cafe’s methods are simple to put in place. Trainers rely upon living networks of people as a model for generative points-of-view.
How a Cafe looks In Teams / Organizations / Communities
The World Cafe is a Metaphor for a Living Network of People. As we create our lives, our organizations, and our communities, we are, in effect, moving among ‘table conversations.’
The Host is a Group (table) leader
The Trainer Monitors Tables and Listens to a group’s Interactions
Trainers can identify hosts or hosts may volunteer. You conduct a World Café for a myriad of functions. The Café is flexible. The trainer needs only to think outside-of-the box of age-ole models.
The Flow in the Cafe
Set-Up round tables
Allow 20 min per rotation
Visitors are proportional to the Number of people who visit a table per rotation.
The Trainer Roams among tables to listen/hear
A Scribe at each rotation will write down information from visitors’ interactions.
Begin with a question or illicit questions from a group beforehand to answer/discuss. The number of tables equals the number of questions you want to explore. The trainer encourages questions that matter to the whole group.
Once you have a set amount of visitors per table, rotations begin. The host remains at a table for all rotations and listens to interactions from visitors. The Scribe moves on.
Principles to Consider
The host identifies patterns of information or outliers. Table visitors make connections from the diverse ideas noted on chart paper. The host then captures or summarizes the similarities/differences to highlight.
The Trainer moves around the room. After all the tables have rotated, the trainer opens discussion with the whole-group.
Connections as the Trainer
The uses for World Café are versatile. I used this method at a high school informational night for honor / AP courses. I wanted a personal process for parents to get details about Honors courses.
First, I pitched the plan to a team of honors department leaders. They then became hosts at round tables with information for their unique programs. Students and families navigated to tables of interest. Scribes listed information on chart paper. I monitored the room by listening and watching. At the next leaders’ meeting, the group of hosts debriefed key insights or questions. Each leader had information on the chart paper. All was favorable.
I nixed the old stand-and-deliver night of information sharing in front of five hundred people.
The World Cafe as a link to Sustainability
Trainers can delve into living systems and grapple with generative conversations. Sustainability evolves out of unexpected output from the host, trainer, and visitors.
Today’s complex nation benefits from cocreation. Set up a World Cafe for information sharing, relationship building, deep reflection exploration. Act with unique planning using the World Cafe.
Discovery with ST Consulting trains trainers to select appropriate strategies of living systems. The World cafe is one. Trainers foster interactions tailored to surface the wisdom of diverse groups.
Meadowlark Institute. (2017, November). The Art of Collaborative Leadership in Uncertain Times. Lake Park, MN.
World Café Resource Guide.