Introduction to the Knowledge Cafe

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Introduction to the Knowledge Cafe

  1. 1. The Knowledge-Caf é If only we knew what we know By David Gurteen and Dan Remenyi
  2. 2. What is a K-Café? <ul><li>A knowledge café is a means of bringing a group of people together to have an open, creative conversation on a topic of mutual interest to share ideas and to gain a deeper collective understanding of the subject and the issues involved. </li></ul>
  3. 3. What are the objectives of a K-Caf é ? <ul><li>To gain mutual understanding of a complex issue </li></ul><ul><li>To gain a deeper understanding of other people’s perspectives </li></ul><ul><li>To gain a deeper understanding of one’s own views and thinking process </li></ul><ul><li>To flush out issues which need airing & exploring </li></ul><ul><li>To help build a consensus around an issue or topic </li></ul>
  4. 4. Where is it used? <ul><li>We have used this technique many times in public forums and within companies to explore complex issues </li></ul><ul><li>The Royal Society for the Arts are using a form of K-Café in conjunction with a coffee house in the UK later this year all over the country to discuss social issues relevant to the societies aims </li></ul><ul><li>I have also recently used it in the NHS to explore how people might better communicate and work together </li></ul>
  5. 5. When would a K-Café be run? <ul><li>Knowledge share </li></ul><ul><li>Develop a Code of Practice </li></ul><ul><li>Get Networking going </li></ul><ul><li>Gain new perspectives </li></ul><ul><li>Gain new ideas </li></ul>
  6. 6. What is the history? <ul><li>How long has it been around & where did it come from? </li></ul><ul><li>The term knowledge-café has been around for the last 7 years or so </li></ul><ul><li>But only in the last 2 or 3 years has it come into more common use </li></ul><ul><li>Has its roots in work of David Bohm, William Isaacs, Juanita Brown </li></ul><ul><li>Also has roots in OST (Open Space Technology) which goes back to 1989 </li></ul>
  7. 7. How is it different from OST? <ul><li>It is quite different </li></ul><ul><li>The OST process is more complex </li></ul><ul><li>OST is used for purposes other than gaining mutual understanding e.g. problem solving and defining agendas </li></ul><ul><li>OST meetings tend to be larger - often 100s of people compared to dozens for K-Cafés </li></ul><ul><li>OST meetings tend to last longer - often days rather than hours </li></ul>
  8. 8. Is it a talking-shop? <ul><li>No its NOT a talking-shop. A talking shop is normally used pejoratively and it implies no useful outcome other than the airing of ones own ideas </li></ul><ul><li>A K-Caf é is different in that everyone leaves enriched by a deeper level of understanding of the subject in question </li></ul>
  9. 9. Why is the K-Caf é important? <ul><li>The world is a much more complex place than it used to be - at times even chaotic - it is not always clear what is going on - we need to take time to UNDERSTAND </li></ul><ul><li>We do not find the time these days to have open conversations, we are under pressure to make quick decisions </li></ul><ul><li>KM for example should not be about creating and sharing ever increasing knowledge but understanding more fully the knowledge that we do have! </li></ul>
  10. 10. What does a K-Café do for the individual? <ul><li>The K-Caf é operates on the assumption that people really have within themselves a greater level of insight than they are often conscious of. The K-Caf é can tease this out. </li></ul><ul><li>You hear yourself say things in k-café conversations that you did not know that you knew </li></ul><ul><li>A k-café kind of crystallises your knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>New ideas are sparked </li></ul><ul><li>Fresh perspectives emerge ... </li></ul><ul><li>And with increased observation and reflection comes understanding and this paves the way for change </li></ul>
  11. 11. What does a K-Café do for the individual? <ul><li>Some people just have problems expressing themselves </li></ul><ul><li>Sometimes you just don’t know what you think until you have said it! </li></ul><ul><li>Learning how to hear and to understand yourself </li></ul><ul><li>The K-Café is a little like an anti-inhibitor and thus stimulates discussion </li></ul>
  12. 12. What resources are needed to run a K-Caf é? <ul><li>Not a lot to run to a simple format </li></ul><ul><li>A group of people </li></ul><ul><li>A facilitator or host </li></ul><ul><li>A room with plenty of space </li></ul><ul><li>Tables and chairs - ideally round tables to seat about 5 </li></ul>
  13. 13. Do you need anything special in the room? <ul><li>Some K-Café formats have special requirements such as round tables, paper table cloths, felt tip pens, flowers on the table and coffee </li></ul><ul><li>The aim being to create the right ambience </li></ul><ul><li>An unthreatening and hospitable environment </li></ul><ul><li>Everyone must feel save to free express themselves without any potential recriminations </li></ul><ul><li>But the K-Cafés that I run need none of these props but of course you could add them if available </li></ul>
  14. 14. How do you run one? <ul><li>K-Cafés can be run in a number of different ways. Some formats are very simple others are more complex </li></ul><ul><li>I use a very simple format and it’s the one I am going to describe </li></ul><ul><li>A K-Caf é runs for 90 minutes to a couple/few hours </li></ul><ul><li>They work best with between 20 and 30 people </li></ul><ul><li>But they can be run with as few as a dozen or as many as 100 people </li></ul>
  15. 15. What's the process? <ul><ul><li>1. Explain the k-café concept </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2. Set the theme and questions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A facilitator or host introduces the K-Caf é and the subject under discussion. The optimum time for this less than 10 minutes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The purpose of the K-Caf é is made clear to everybody </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The facilitator poses one or two key open ended questions. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The participants group themselves into groups of 4 or 5 and are invited to discuss the subject for 45 minutes. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The whole group re-assembles for an exchange of ideas as a whole for 45 minuets </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. What subjects are can be covered? <ul><li>Any subject can be addressed </li></ul><ul><li>Explore questions that matter to those who are participating in the K-Caf é </li></ul><ul><li>Remember the K-Caf é is not a debating forum </li></ul><ul><li>A K-Caf é would normally explore only one theme </li></ul><ul><li>A K-Café is NOT about decision making. </li></ul>
  17. 17. What is the Role of the Facilitator ? <ul><li>The facilitator need not be a subject specialist. If not you might use a subject specialist to introduce the question/s </li></ul><ul><li>Nor disciplined in facilitation </li></ul><ul><li>Simply a good listener and chairperson skills </li></ul><ul><li>The facilitator should not take a lead in the discussions. He or she should wander around and listen into the groups but should not lead them . </li></ul><ul><li>Should listen out for problems and remind people gently of the rules of ‘dialogue’ </li></ul>
  18. 18. What’s the role of the individuals? <ul><li>In the words of Theodore Zeldin : to be prepared to emerge a slightly different person </li></ul><ul><li>To see people with different views not as adversaries but as sources from which you can learn </li></ul><ul><li>To enter into open conversation </li></ul><ul><li>To listen more than speak </li></ul><ul><li>To welcome differences </li></ul><ul><li>To withhold judgment </li></ul><ul><li>Position taking should be avoided </li></ul><ul><li>Minimum political correctness should be followed </li></ul>
  19. 19. How do things work within the small groups? <ul><li>Don’t appoint a leader or chairperson </li></ul><ul><li>Everyone should be equal and fully engaged in the conversation </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t appoint a note taker either </li></ul><ul><li>Anyone can make their own notes if they want to </li></ul><ul><li>Everyone reports back their own perspectives to the final group if they want to </li></ul>
  20. 20. How does the large group sit? <ul><li>If possible bring everyone back into a relatively tight horse-shoe shape group so that every one can easily see each other as well as hear each other </li></ul><ul><li>Only use microphones if absolutely necessary as they inhibit the natural flow of the conversation </li></ul>
  21. 21. Describe the large group discussion? <ul><li>Individuals are asked to remember that their comments are for the whole group and not for the facilitator. They are not reporting back to the facilitator! </li></ul><ul><li>The objective is the hold a ‘group conversation’ </li></ul><ul><li>The facilitator needs to work at encouraging this </li></ul>
  22. 22. How does the facilitator work with the large group at the end <ul><li>The group should be doing the work with minimal intervention from the facilitator </li></ul><ul><li>Facilitator needs to encourage participation </li></ul><ul><li>Facilitator needs to ensure that no one person or group dominates the discussion </li></ul><ul><li>Connect diverse perspectives </li></ul><ul><li>Facilitator needs to keep time </li></ul>
  23. 23. How do you record the outcomes of a K-Café <ul><li>The real outcome is what people take away with them in their heads and the new connections with other people that they may have made </li></ul><ul><li>What ever you record things you should avoid disrupting or influencing the conversation in anyway </li></ul><ul><li>You record it (audio or video) but I would advise against it </li></ul><ul><li>Best to appoint an outside person to take notes </li></ul><ul><li>Participants should not be burdened with routine recording as they need to be fully engaged in the conversation </li></ul>
  24. 24. The Outcomes of a K-Caf é <ul><li>The real outcome is what you take away with you in your head </li></ul><ul><li>New connections with people </li></ul><ul><li>A deeper understanding of the issue discussed </li></ul><ul><li>A deeper understanding and insight into other people’s perspectives </li></ul><ul><li>A better appreciation of your own point of view and how it is seen by others </li></ul><ul><li>A better knowledge of what you know and don’t know and what others know and don’t know </li></ul><ul><li>In a position to make more informed decisions </li></ul>
  25. 25. Other Formats <ul><li>theworldcafe.com </li></ul><ul><li>Flipcharts/flowers/table cloths/pens etc </li></ul><ul><li>Can get in the way </li></ul><ul><li>Need additional cost/budget </li></ul><ul><li>If have that luxury then ok </li></ul><ul><li>Groups can move around </li></ul><ul><ul><li>takes longer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ok if you can afford the time </li></ul></ul>
  26. 26. Where can I learn more about K-Cafés? <ul><li>That’s simple </li></ul><ul><li>There are a lot of resources on the web </li></ul><ul><li>A good stating point is gurteen.com </li></ul><ul><li>Where you will find a link on the home page to other resources including theworldcafe.com </li></ul>

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