Knowledge Cafe Masterclass, Neethlingshhof, South Africa, Nov 2008
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Knowledge Cafe Masterclass, Neethlingshhof, South Africa, Nov 2008






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Knowledge Cafe Masterclass, Neethlingshhof, South Africa, Nov 2008 Knowledge Cafe Masterclass, Neethlingshhof, South Africa, Nov 2008 Presentation Transcript

  • Gurteen Knowledge Gurteen Knowledge CaféGurteen Knowledge Café MasterclassMasterclass Stellenbosch South Africa November 2008
  • The birth of theThe birth of the Gurteen Knowledge CafeGurteen Knowledge Cafe London, September 2002
  • Gurteen Knowledge Begin with the end in mindBegin with the end in mind • Raise awareness of the role of conversation in your business lives • To teach you about Knowledge Cafes and how to run them • Encourage you to create more opportunities in your organization for creative conversation
  • Gurteen Knowledge AgendaAgenda • 10:00 – 10:15 Introductions (15 mins) • 10:15 – 10:45 Business is a Conversation (30 mins) • 10:45 – 11:15 Knowledge Café Process (30 mins) • 11:15 – 11:45 Coffee (30 mins) • 11:45 – 13:00 Run a Knowledge Cafe (75 mins) • 13:00 – 14:00 Lunch (60 mins) • 14:00 – 15:00 Applications of the Café (60 mins) • 15:00 – 15:15 [Tips & techniques] (15 mins) • 15:15 – 15:30 Coffee (15 mins) • 15:30 – 16:30 Action Cafe (45 mins)
  • Gurteen Knowledge PhotographsPhotographs
  • Gurteen Knowledge Speed NetworkingSpeed Networking
  • Gurteen Knowledge Business is a ConversationBusiness is a Conversation
  • Business is a conversationBusiness is a conversation Business is a conversation because the defining work of business is conversation - literally. And 'knowledge workers' are simply those people whose job consists of having interesting conversations. David Weinberger The Cluetrain Manifesto • Conversation is central to all that we do • Its our job!
  • Conversation is a meeting of mindsConversation is a meeting of minds Conversation is a meeting of minds with different memories and habits. When minds meet, they don't just exchange facts: they transform them, reshape them, draw different implications from them, engage in new trains of thought. Conversation doesn't just reshuffle the cards: it creates new cards. Theodore Zeldin Conversation • Theodore in an Oxford Historian • Conversation is creative
  • KM is about understandingKM is about understanding For all our knowledge, we have no idea what we're talking about. We don't understand what's going on in our business, our market, and our world. KM shouldn’t be about helping us to know more. It should be about helping us to understand. So, how do we understand things? It's through stories that we understand how the world works. David Weinberger, The Cluetrain Manifesto • Its about understanding & sense making • Through conversation & storytelling
  • Gurteen Knowledge ConversationConversation “A mechanistic and unproductive exchange between people seeking to defend their own views against one another” “A frank exchange of ideas or views on a specific issue in an effort to attain mutual understanding” Debate or dialogue?
  • Gurteen Knowledge DialogueDialogue • When we engage each other in dialogue – we enter into a conversation with a view to learn from each other – rather than impose our views on the other. The kind of conversation I’m interested in is one in which you start with a willingness to emerge a slightly different person. Theodore Zeldin, Historian
  • Gurteen Knowledge Principles of DialoguePrinciples of Dialogue • Suspend assumptions, do not judge • Observe & listen to one another • Welcome differences & explore them • Allow taboo subjects to be raised safely • Listen to your inner voice • Slow the discussion • Search for the underlying meaning Dialogue is based on the work of the physicist David Bohm
  • Gurteen Knowledge SummarySummary • Business is a conversation • Conversation is creative • Understanding is more important than knowing more • Dialogue is the key to quality conversations
  • Gurteen Knowledge Conversation/QuestionsConversation/Questions
  • Gurteen Knowledge Gurteen Knowledge CaféGurteen Knowledge Café ProcessProcess
  • Gurteen Knowledge What resources are needed to run aWhat resources are needed to run a Knowledge CafKnowledge Café?é? • Not a lot! • A group of people • A facilitator or host • A room with plenty of space • Tables & chairs to seat about five people per table
  • Gurteen Knowledge What do you need in the room?What do you need in the room? • Some formats have special requirements such as round tables, paper table cloths, felt tip pens, flowers on the table and coffee & biscuits – Gurteen Knowledge Cafés need none of these props but of course you could use them if available – Refreshments help • Aim is to create a good ambience • Unthreatening and hospitable environment
  • Gurteen Knowledge How do you run one?How do you run one? • Knowledge Cafés can be run in different ways • I use a simple format • Runs for 90 minutes to a couple of hours • Work best with between 25 and 35 people • Can run a dozen people or as many as 100 – But with some modifications
  • Gurteen Knowledge What's the process?What's the process? • Facilitator takes 5 - 15 minutes to introduce the Knowledge Café and the theme • Purpose of the Knowledge Café is made clear • Facilitator poses an open ended question • Participants form into small groups of 4 or 5 to discuss the subject for 30 - 60 minutes. • Change tables 1,2 or 3 times • The group re-assembles for an exchange of ideas as a whole for 15 - 30 minutes
  • Gurteen Knowledge What subjects are covered?What subjects are covered? • Any subject can be addressed • Explore questions that matter to the participants • Normally explore only one theme • And pose only one question
  • Gurteen Knowledge What’s the role of the facilitator?What’s the role of the facilitator? • Facilitator need not be a specialist – Nor disciplined in facilitation – Simply a good listener and chairperson skills • Facilitator should not take a lead in the discussions • Should wander around and listen into the groups • Should listen out for problems and remind people gently of the rules of ‘dialogue’
  • Gurteen Knowledge What’s the role of the individual?What’s the role of the individual? • Theodore Zeldin : to be prepared to emerge a slightly different person • To see people with different views not as adversaries but as resources from which we can learn • To enter into open conversation • To listen more than speak • To welcome differences • To withhold judgment • To avoid position taking • To avoid being too politically correct
  • Gurteen Knowledge How do things work withinHow do things work within the small groups?the small groups? • Don’t appoint a leader or chairperson • Everyone should be equal and fully engaged in the conversation • Don’t appoint a note taker either • Anyone can make their own notes if they want to • People share their perspectives with the group only if they wish to
  • Gurteen Knowledge How does the large group sit?How does the large group sit? • Bring everyone back into a relatively tight group so that every one can easily see and hear each other • Only use microphones if absolutely necessary as they inhibit the natural flow of the conversation
  • Gurteen Knowledge How does the whole group work?How does the whole group work? • Individuals asked to remember that their comments are for the whole group and not for the facilitator. • The objective is to hold a ‘group conversation’ • The facilitator needs to work at encouraging this – Plays a low key role – not the expert – Turn away, even hide!
  • Gurteen Knowledge How does the facilitator workHow does the facilitator work with the whole group?with the whole group? • The group should be doing the work with minimal intervention from the facilitator • Facilitator needs to encourage participation • Facilitator needs to ensure that no one person or group dominates the discussion • Connects diverse perspectives
  • Gurteen Knowledge Conversation/QuestionsConversation/Questions
  • Gurteen Knowledge Lets run a Knowledge CafeLets run a Knowledge Cafe
  • Gurteen Knowledge Knowledge SharingKnowledge Sharing • Sharing knowledge is not about giving people something, or getting something from them. That is only valid for information sharing. • Sharing knowledge occurs when people are genuinely interested in helping one another develop new capacities for action; it is about creating learning processes. Peter Senge
  • Gurteen Knowledge Personal Reasons for SharingPersonal Reasons for Sharing • To help other people & to help ourselves • Other people – To get things done – To build relationships so they in turn help us • Ourselves – To get things done – Learning to be gained – Knowledge is perishable – Someone else will make our knowledge productive first
  • Gurteen Knowledge Barriers to Knowledge SharingBarriers to Knowledge Sharing 1. A silo mentality 2. Knowledge is power 3. Lack of knowledge sharing processes 4. No time allowed 5. No knowledge sharing by executives 6. Managers do not walk the talk 7. Poor IT systems 8. Lack of encouragement 9. Bureaucracy 10. Resistance to change by managers Karl-Eric Sveiby
  • Gurteen Knowledge The Challenge of Knowledge SharingThe Challenge of Knowledge Sharing What prevents us from sharing our knowledge more effectively? How might we overcome these barriers?
  • Business is a conversationBusiness is a conversation Here's a definition of that pesky and borderline elitist phrase, 'knowledge worker'. A knowledge worker is someone whose job entails having really interesting conversations at work. David Weinberger The Cluetrain Manifesto
  • Business is a conversationBusiness is a conversation The characteristics of conversations map to the conditions for genuine knowledge generation and sharing: they're unpredictable interactions among people speaking in their own voice about something they're interested in. David Weinberger The Cluetrain Manifesto
  • Business is a conversationBusiness is a conversation People implicitly acknowledge that they don't have all the answers (or else the conversation is really a lecture) and risk being wrong in front of someone else. And conversations overcome the class structure of business, suspending the organization chart at least for a little while. David Weinberger The Cluetrain Manifesto
  • Business is a conversationBusiness is a conversation If you think about the aim of Knowledge Management as enabling better conversations rather than lassoing stray knowledge doggies, you end up focusing on breaking down the physical and class barriers to conversation. David Weinberger The Cluetrain Manifesto
  • Gurteen Knowledge Café ConversationCafé Conversation What is the role of conversation and how do we encourage more conversation in our organizations?
  • Gurteen Knowledge LunchLunch
  • Applications of the CaféApplications of the Café
  • Gurteen Knowledge What are the outcomes?What are the outcomes? • Real outcomes are what you take away in your head – A deeper understanding of the issues discussed – A deeper insight into other people’s perspectives – A better appreciation of your own point of view – Better position to make more informed decisions and to take action!
  • Gurteen Knowledge Where might you use the Café?Where might you use the Café? • Surface hidden problems & opportunities • Encourage knowledge sharing & informal learning • Spark action • Improve decision making and innovation • Address disengagement and lack of voice • Help people make sense of the world • Help people feel ownership of things • Retain talent • Reduce dependence on external facilitators
  • Gurteen Knowledge Generic ApplicationsGeneric Applications • As part of any presentation • To glean feedback on say a policy document • Replace a series of one-on-one interviews • Collaborative writing effort – knowledge café – Individual blogging – Wiki document creation • Part of a meeting say to present future plans or strategy
  • Some real Café applicationsSome real Café applications
  • Gurteen Knowledge ISN Knowledge CaféISN Knowledge Café The knowledge café has led to a dramatic improvement in terms of inter-team dialog, collaboration and knowledge sharing. Many internal work processes are now being overhauled for the better as a result of these knowledge cafes and we have seen an explosion of new ideas and initiatives on the part of staff at all levels of the organization. Simply put, the knowledge cafe format has empowered all our staff to speak up and take the initiative in ensuring the successful development of the ISN. Chris Pallaris, Chief Editor ISN, Zurich
  • Gurteen Knowledge Café for a UK government bodyCafé for a UK government body • Day long workshop • 3 presentations on social tools • A knowledge Café • Future leaders in the group • Future leaders determine an action plan
  • Gurteen Knowledge Canal Boat CaféCanal Boat Café • On canals in Amsterdam • At end of week of workshops & visits • To help summarise the week • And develop plan for action
  • Gurteen Knowledge Trinidad & TobagoTrinidad & Tobago Oil and GasOil and Gas • Expert talks
  • Gurteen Knowledge StatoilHydroStatoilHydro • To surface issues as a result of a merger • Series of Cafes to bring retiring experts together with younger members to transfer knowledge – In a café on an allotment • Geophysicists – Discussion of preferred technologies – Exchange views on experiences • Management Training – But not called a Knowledge Cafe
  • What applications do you see for theWhat applications do you see for the Knowledge Café?Knowledge Café?
  • Gurteen Knowledge Selling to Senior ManagementSelling to Senior Management • Start with the business problem not the Café • Focus on important business issues • Don’t assume managers will not buy-in if there is not a hard business outcome • Find a good reason to run a knowledge café for the managers!
  • Recording OutcomesRecording Outcomes
  • Gurteen Knowledge Recording OutcomesRecording Outcomes • Café is about the transfer of tacit knowledge – not about making tacit knowledge explicit! • Recording can stifle the conversation • Café often best as part of a larger process • Avoid disrupting the conversation • Participants should not record group notes • OK for personal notes
  • Gurteen Knowledge Recording OutcomesRecording Outcomes • Why? – That’s what we always do! – As a record – Share with others who were not there – Justify to boss – For a good business purpose • If nothing will be done with the recording then don’t record it!
  • Gurteen Knowledge Ideas for recording outcomesIdeas for recording outcomes • Appoint an external person to take notes – Direct capture to laptop! • Capture 1 item from each person & collate • Encourage people to blog the session • Audio capture and transcription • Visual capture
  • How would you capture outcomes?How would you capture outcomes?
  • Gurteen Knowledge ActionAction What have you learnt today and what action will you take when back in the office?
  • Gurteen Knowledge Tips and techniquesTips and techniques
  • Gurteen Knowledge The themeThe theme • A topic people feel passionate about • Complex issues • Only ONE question • Open ended question • Action oriented
  • Gurteen Knowledge The conversationThe conversation • The question is only a seed • OK to go off topic • Conversation as close to a conversation at the pub or over dinner
  • Gurteen Knowledge The speaker/facilitatorThe speaker/facilitator • Speaker and facilitator need not be the same • Facilitator: involved/not involved • Speakers can be controlling or dominant – Often run over time – Need to brief and handle carefully
  • Gurteen Knowledge The facilitatorThe facilitator • Important to be yourself • Do not control • Experiment a little • Take some risks • Don’t be afraid of silence • If you let people talk and leave them alone you cannot go far wrong
  • Gurteen Knowledge The venueThe venue • Need not be a room • Boat on Thames • Canal Boat (long boat in Amsterdam) • Knowledge Walk/BBQ (Greenwich) • Pub (Stavanger) • Outside under sunshades (Scottsdale) • Actual café (London & Barcelona)
  • Gurteen Knowledge The roomThe room • Important • Small, cosy • Small round tables • Good acoustics • Paper/toys on tables • Lecture theatre?
  • Gurteen Knowledge The tablesThe tables
  • Gurteen Knowledge Holding in a lecture theatreHolding in a lecture theatre • Difficult but not impossible • Problem of moving between groups • Problem of whole group conversation – reporting back • Need for microphones
  • Gurteen Knowledge Using microphonesUsing microphones • Avoid if possible • Will need them if group larger than 40 – Maybe less if poor acoustics • People hold on to them • Kills the flow of conversation • One for yourself and at least 2 roving mikes • Avoid fixed mikes (Jakarta)
  • Gurteen Knowledge Knowledge circlesKnowledge circles • Greenwich Story • KM World • Jakarta Workshop • Not as difficult as it seems
  • Gurteen Knowledge Small groupSmall group • Ask people to sit with others they do not know • Change groups once, twice at most 3 times • People do not like changing groups • Don’t force them! • Kuala Lumpur story
  • Gurteen Knowledge Whole groupWhole group • Where you need facilitation skills • People will report back out of habit – Or ask you questions • In some cultures best to let them • Even for some groups let them – Central bank librarians story • Unless in expert mode do not join in too much • Tolerate silence – pause and wait
  • Gurteen Knowledge CultureCulture • I have run the Cafes in many different countries – UK, Spain, Norway, Moscow – USA – Singapore – Hong Kong – Kuala Lumpur – Thailand – Australia – UAE
  • Gurteen Knowledge Cultural issuesCultural issues • Jakarta – Open Café – Workshop • Kuala Lumpur – Won’t change tables – Won’t go for coffee • Bangkok – Flee, video • Dubai – Report back • Scottsdale – Intense group • Hong Kong – Iranians
  • Gurteen Knowledge Language issuesLanguage issues • Ideally one common language • Let people speak in their own language in small groups – Can’t listen in! • Common language (English) in whole group • Even own language in whole group • Use of translators – Serial or concurrent
  • Gurteen Knowledge Listening inListening in • If expert mode then join in • If facilitation mode then try not to • Wander around and actively listen • Observe for issues • Watch, think, be prepared to adapt
  • Gurteen Knowledge Wrap upWrap up • No need to summarise at length • Keep it short and simple • Thank people
  • Other Conversational ToolsOther Conversational Tools
  • Gurteen Knowledge Other Conversational ToolsOther Conversational Tools • Gurteen Knowledge Café • Traditional Knowledge Café – Flip charts, capture, report back etc • Conferences – Speak, conversation, Q&A • Reverse Café • Conversation Dinner • World Cafe • Open Space • Anecdote Circles • Appreciative Inquiry
  • Gurteen Knowledge How is the Knowledge Cafe differentHow is the Knowledge Cafe different from the World Cafe?from the World Cafe? • Different roots • Usually shorter • For smaller numbers of people • Less preparation required • Flip chart paper & pens optional • No table leaders • No reporting back • More business oriented
  • Gurteen Knowledge How is Open Space TechnologyHow is Open Space Technology different from Knowledge Café?different from Knowledge Café? • OST Process is more complex • Used other than to gain mutual understanding – e.g. problem solving and defining agendas • Meetings tend to be larger – often 100s of people compared to dozens for the Café • Meetings tend to last longer – often days rather than hours
  • Gurteen Knowledge Action CafeAction Cafe How could Knowledge Cafes be applied within your organisation and what action will you take when back in the office?
  • Gurteen Knowledge Where can I learn moreWhere can I learn more about Knowledge Cafés?about Knowledge Cafés? • There are a lot of resources on the web • My website contains a vast amount of material – • The World Café – Book The World Café: Shaping our futures through conversations that matter – Website : • The Society for Philosophical Inquiry –
  • Gurteen Knowledge Where can I learn moreWhere can I learn more about Knowledge Cafés?about Knowledge Cafés? • There are a lot of resources on the web • My website contains a vast amount of material – • The World Café – Book The World Café: Shaping our futures through conversations that matter – Website : • The Society for Philosophical Inquiry –
  • Gurteen Knowledge Thank you!
  • Gurteen Knowledge David Gurteen Gurteen Knowledge Tel: +44 1252 812 878 Email:
  • Gurteen Knowledge LicenceLicence • You may use these slides under the following Creative Commons Licence • Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 •