Gurteen Knowledge Cafe Masterclass


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Gurteen Knowledge Cafe Masterclass: half-day workshop on how to run Gurteen Knowledge Cafes given as post-conference workshop to HKKMS 2010 Conference in Hong Kong March 31st 2010.

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Gurteen Knowledge Cafe Masterclass

  1. 1. Gurteen Knowledge Café Masterclass HKKMS Hong Kong March 31 2010
  2. 2. Conversational Cafés <ul><li>A conversational café is a simple process for bringing a group of people together to have open conversations about a topic of mutual interest with a specific business purpose in mind </li></ul><ul><li>Examples </li></ul><ul><ul><li>World Café </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Knowledge Cafés </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gurteen Knowledge & Innovation Cafés </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Different forms of Café <ul><li>Many forms of café adapted to different purposes </li></ul><ul><li>Gurteen Knowledge Café & World Café </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Learning, inspiring action </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Gurteen Innovation Café </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Surfacing issues </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Refining issues and problems </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Developing responses </li></ul></ul><ul><li>AARs, peer-assists, retrospects could be considered forms of Café </li></ul>
  4. 4. The birth of the Gurteen Knowledge Cafe London, September 2002
  5. 5. Begin with the end in mind <ul><li>Raise awareness of the role of conversation in your business lives </li></ul><ul><li>To teach you about Knowledge Cafes and how to run them </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage you to create more opportunities in your organization for creative conversation </li></ul>
  6. 6. Agenda <ul><li>09:30 – 09:50 Introductions (20 mins) </li></ul><ul><li>09:50 – 10:10 Business is a Conversation (20 mins) </li></ul><ul><li>10:10 – 10:30 Knowledge Café Process (20 mins) </li></ul><ul><li>10:30 – 11:00 Coffee (30 mins) </li></ul><ul><li>11:00 – 12:00 Run a Knowledge Cafe (60 mins) </li></ul><ul><li>12:00 – 12:20 Applications (20 mins) </li></ul><ul><li>12:20 – 12:40 Tips & Techniques (20 mins) </li></ul><ul><li>12:40 – 13:00 Review (20 mins) </li></ul>
  7. 7. Photographs
  8. 8. Introductions
  9. 9. Business is a Conversation
  10. 10. Business 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 <ul><li>Conversation is central to all that we do </li></ul><ul><li>Its our job! </li></ul>
  11. 11. Conversation is a learning technology Conversation is the most powerful learning technology ever invented. Conversations carry news, create meaning, foster cooperation, and spark innovation. Encouraging open, honest conversation through work space design, setting ground rules for conversing productively, and baking conversation into the corporate culture spread intellectual capital, improve cooperation, and strengthen personal relationships. Jay Cross, Informal Learning <ul><li>Jay Cross is a champion of Informal Learning </li></ul>
  12. 12. Conversation is our most effective KM tool Our most effective KM tool is conversation. The words we choose, the questions we ask, and the metaphors we use to explain ourselves, are what determine our success in creating new knowledge as well as sharing that knowledge with each other. Nancy Dixon Nancy Dixon Common Knowledge Associates
  13. 13. Conversation 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 <ul><li>Theodore in an Oxford Historian </li></ul><ul><li>Conversation is creative </li></ul>
  14. 14. KM 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 <ul><li>Its about understanding & sense making </li></ul><ul><li>Through conversation & storytelling </li></ul>
  15. 15. Conversation is dialogue 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 Conversation Theodore in an Oxford Historian
  16. 16. Principles of Dialogue <ul><li>Suspend assumptions, do not judge </li></ul><ul><li>Observe & listen to one another </li></ul><ul><li>Welcome differences & explore them </li></ul><ul><li>Allow taboo subjects to be raised safely </li></ul><ul><li>Listen to your inner voice </li></ul><ul><li>Slow the discussion </li></ul><ul><li>Search for the underlying meaning </li></ul>Dialogue is based on the work of the physicist David Bohm
  17. 17. Summary <ul><li>Business is a conversation </li></ul><ul><li>Conversation is a powerful learning & KM tool </li></ul><ul><li>Conversation is creative </li></ul><ul><li>Understanding is more important than knowing more </li></ul><ul><li>Dialogue is the key to quality conversations </li></ul>
  18. 18. Conversation/Questions
  19. 19. Gurteen Knowledge Café Process
  20. 20. What is a Knowledge Café? <ul><li>A knowledge café brings a group of people together to have an open, creative conversation on a topic of mutual interest to surface their collective knowledge, to share ideas and to gain a deeper understanding of the issues involved. </li></ul><ul><li>Ultimately leading to action in the form of better decision making and innovation and thus tangible business outcomes. </li></ul>
  21. 21. What are the outcomes? <ul><li>Real outcomes are what you take away in your head </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A deeper understanding of the issue discussed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A deeper insight into other people’s perspectives </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A better appreciation of your own point of view </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Better position to make more informed decisions and to take action! </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. What is the history? <ul><li>The term Knowledge Café has been around for the last 7 years or so </li></ul><ul><li>Only in the last 2 or 3 years has the term come into common use </li></ul><ul><li>Roots in work of David Bohm, William Isaacs, Juanita Brown </li></ul><ul><li>Roots in Open Space Technology which goes back to 1989 </li></ul>
  23. 23. Is it a talking-shop? <ul><li>No its NOT a talking-shop. A talking shop is normally used pejoratively and implies no useful outcome other than the airing of ones own ideas </li></ul><ul><li>A Knowledge Caf é is different in that everyone leaves enriched by a deeper level of understanding of the subject in question and is often inspired to act </li></ul>
  24. 24. Why is the Knowledge Caf é important? <ul><li>The world is a 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 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>
  25. 25. What does a Knowledge Café do for the individual? <ul><li>The Caf é assumes we have within ourselves a greater level of insight than we are conscious of </li></ul><ul><li>The Caf é helps tease this out </li></ul><ul><li>You hear yourself say things in Café conversations that you did not know that you knew </li></ul><ul><li>It crystallises our knowledge </li></ul><ul><ul><li>New ideas are sparked </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fresh perspectives emerge ... </li></ul></ul><ul><li>With increased observation and reflection comes understanding – this paves the way for change </li></ul>
  26. 26. What resources are needed to run a Knowledge Caf é? <ul><li>Not a lot! </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 & chairs to seat about five people per table </li></ul>
  27. 27. What do you need in the room? <ul><li>Some formats have special requirements such as round tables, paper table cloths, felt tip pens, flowers on the table and coffee & biscuits </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Gurteen Knowledge Cafés need none of these props but of course you could use them if available </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Refreshments help </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Aim is to create a good ambience </li></ul><ul><li>Unthreatening and hospitable environment </li></ul>
  28. 28. How do you run one? <ul><li>Knowledge Cafés can be run in different ways </li></ul><ul><li>I use a simple format </li></ul><ul><li>Runs for 90 minutes to a couple of hours </li></ul><ul><li>Work best with between 25 and 35 people </li></ul><ul><li>Can run a dozen people or as many as 100 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>But with some modifications </li></ul></ul>
  29. 29. What's the process? <ul><ul><li>Facilitator takes 5 - 15 minutes to introduce the Knowledge Caf é and the theme </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Purpose of the Knowledge Caf é is made clear </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Facilitator poses an open ended question </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Participants form into small groups of 4 or 5 to discuss the subject for 30 - 60 minutes. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Change tables 1,2 or 3 times </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The group re-assembles for an exchange of ideas as a whole for 15 - 30 minutes </li></ul></ul>
  30. 30. What subjects are covered? <ul><li>Any subject can be addressed </li></ul><ul><li>Explore questions that matter to the participants </li></ul><ul><li>Normally explore only one theme </li></ul><ul><li>And pose only one question </li></ul>
  31. 31. What’s the role of the facilitator? <ul><li>Facilitator need not be a specialist </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Nor disciplined in facilitation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Simply a good listener and chairperson skills </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Facilitator should not take a lead in the discussions </li></ul><ul><li>Should wander around and listen into the groups </li></ul><ul><li>Should listen out for problems and remind people gently of the rules of ‘dialogue’ </li></ul>
  32. 32. What’s the role of the individual? <ul><li>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 resources from which we 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>To avoid position taking </li></ul><ul><li>To avoid being too politically correct </li></ul>
  33. 33. 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>People share their perspectives with the group only if they wish to </li></ul>
  34. 34. How does the large group sit? <ul><li>Bring everyone back into a relatively tight group so that every one can easily see and hear each other </li></ul><ul><li>Only use microphones if absolutely necessary as they inhibit the natural flow of the conversation </li></ul>
  35. 35. How does the whole group work? <ul><li>Individuals asked to remember that their comments are for the whole group and not for the facilitator. </li></ul><ul><li>The objective is to hold a ‘group conversation’ </li></ul><ul><li>The facilitator needs to work at encouraging this </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Plays a low key role – not the expert </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Turn away, even hide! </li></ul></ul>
  36. 36. How does the facilitator work with the whole group? <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>Connects diverse perspectives </li></ul>
  37. 37. How do you record the outcomes of a Knowledge Café? <ul><li>The Café is fundamentally about the transfer of TACIT knowledge – not about making tacit knowledge explicit but </li></ul><ul><li>If you record things you should avoid disrupting or influencing the conversation in anyway </li></ul><ul><li>You could make audio or video recordings but I would advise against it </li></ul><ul><li>Participants should not be burdened with recording as they need to be fully engaged in the conversation </li></ul><ul><li>Best to appoint an external person to take notes </li></ul>
  38. 38. Conversation/Questions
  39. 39. Coffee
  40. 40. Lets run a Knowledge Cafe
  41. 41. Café Conversation What is the role of conversation in our organisations; is it important and how do we encourage more of it?
  42. 42. Applications of the Café
  43. 43. ISN 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
  44. 44. Café for a UK government body <ul><li>Day long workshop </li></ul><ul><li>3 presentations on social tools </li></ul><ul><li>A knowledge Café </li></ul><ul><li>Future leaders in the group </li></ul><ul><li>Future leaders determine an action plan </li></ul>
  45. 45. Canal Boat Café <ul><li>On canals in Amsterdam </li></ul><ul><li>At end of week of workshops & visits </li></ul><ul><li>To help summarise the week </li></ul><ul><li>And develop plan for action </li></ul>
  46. 46. Trinidad & Tobago Oil and Gas <ul><li>Expert talks </li></ul>
  47. 47. StatoilHydro <ul><li>Series of Cafes to bring experts who were leaving together with younger members of organization to transfer knowledge </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In a café on an allotment </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Geophysicists </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Discussion of preferred technologies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Exchange views on experiences </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Management Training </li></ul><ul><ul><li>But not called a Knowledge Cafe </li></ul></ul>
  48. 48. Tips and techniques
  49. 49. The theme <ul><li>Topic that everyone feels passionate about </li></ul><ul><li>Complex issues </li></ul><ul><li>Only ONE question </li></ul><ul><li>Open ended question </li></ul>
  50. 50. The conversation <ul><li>The question is only a seed </li></ul><ul><li>OK to go off topic </li></ul><ul><li>Conversation as close to a conversation at the pub or over dinner </li></ul>
  51. 51. The speaker/facilitator <ul><li>Speaker and facilitator need not be the same </li></ul><ul><li>Facilitator: involved/not involved </li></ul><ul><li>Speakers can be controlling or dominant </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Often run over time </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Need to brief and handle carefully </li></ul></ul>
  52. 52. The facilitator <ul><li>Important to be yourself </li></ul><ul><li>Do not control </li></ul><ul><li>Experiment a little </li></ul><ul><li>Take some risks </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t be afraid of silence </li></ul><ul><li>If you let people talk and leave them alone you cannot go far wrong </li></ul>
  53. 53. The venue <ul><li>Need not be a room </li></ul><ul><li>Boat on Thames </li></ul><ul><li>Canal Boat (long boat in Amsterdam) </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge Walk/BBQ (Greenwich) </li></ul><ul><li>Pub (Stavanger) </li></ul><ul><li>Outside under sunshades (Scottsdale) </li></ul><ul><li>An actual café (London & Barcelona) </li></ul>
  54. 54. The room <ul><li>Important </li></ul><ul><li>Small, cosy </li></ul><ul><li>Small round tables </li></ul><ul><li>Good acoustics </li></ul><ul><li>Paper/toys on tables </li></ul><ul><li>Lecture theatre? </li></ul>
  55. 55. The tables
  56. 56. Holding in a lecture theatre <ul><li>Difficult but not impossible </li></ul><ul><li>Problem of moving between groups </li></ul><ul><li>Problem of whole group conversation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>reporting back </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Need for microphones </li></ul>
  57. 57. Using microphones <ul><li>Avoid if possible </li></ul><ul><li>Will need them if group larger than 40 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Maybe less if poor acoustics </li></ul></ul><ul><li>People hold on to them </li></ul><ul><li>Kills the flow of conversation </li></ul><ul><li>One for yourself and at least 2 roving mikes </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid fixed mikes (Jakarta) </li></ul>
  58. 58. Knowledge circles <ul><li>Greenwich Story </li></ul><ul><li>KM World </li></ul><ul><li>Jakarta Workshop </li></ul><ul><li>Not as difficult as it seems </li></ul>
  59. 59. Small group <ul><li>Ask people to sit with others they do not know </li></ul><ul><li>Change groups once, twice at most 3 times </li></ul><ul><li>People do not like changing groups </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t force them! </li></ul><ul><li>Kuala Lumpur story </li></ul>
  60. 60. Whole group <ul><li>Where you need facilitation skills </li></ul><ul><li>People will report back out of habit </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Or ask you questions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>In some cultures best to let them </li></ul><ul><li>Even for some groups let them </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Central bank librarians story </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Unless in expert mode do not join in too much </li></ul><ul><li>Tolerate silence – pause and wait </li></ul>
  61. 61. Culture <ul><li>I have run the Cafes in many different countries </li></ul><ul><ul><li>UK, Spain, Norway, Moscow </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>USA </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Singapore </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hong Kong </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Kuala Lumpur </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Thailand </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Australia </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>UAE </li></ul></ul>
  62. 62. Cultural issues <ul><li>Jakarta </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Open Café </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Workshop </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Kuala Lumpur </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Won’t change tables </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Won’t go for coffee </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Bangkok </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Flee, video </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Dubai </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Report back </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Scottsdale </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Intense group </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Hong Kong </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Iranians </li></ul></ul>
  63. 63. Language issues <ul><li>Ideally one common language </li></ul><ul><li>Let people speak in their own language in small groups </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Can’t listen in! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Common language (English) in whole group </li></ul><ul><li>Even own language in whole group </li></ul><ul><li>Use of translators </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Serial or concurrent </li></ul></ul>
  64. 64. Listening in <ul><li>If expert mode then join in </li></ul><ul><li>If facilitation mode then try not to </li></ul><ul><li>Wander around and actively listen </li></ul><ul><li>Observe for issues </li></ul><ul><li>Watch, think, be prepared to adapt </li></ul>
  65. 65. Wrap up <ul><li>No need to summarise at length </li></ul><ul><li>Keep it short and simple </li></ul><ul><li>Thank people </li></ul>
  66. 66. Conversation/Questions
  67. 67. Where can I learn more about Knowledge Cafés? <ul><li>There are a lot of resources on the web </li></ul><ul><li>My website contains a vast amount of material </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The World Café </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Book The World Café: Shaping our futures through conversations that matter </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Website : </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Society for Philosophical Inquiry </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>
  68. 68. Aspects of Gurteen Knowledge Cafes <ul><li>All about relaxed, non-threatening, open conversation </li></ul><ul><li>No one is forced to do anything </li></ul><ul><li>Everyone is equal </li></ul><ul><li>No table leaders </li></ul><ul><li>No reporting back </li></ul><ul><li>Sharing circle: individual summary at end </li></ul><ul><li>No overall summarization or attempt to reach consensus </li></ul><ul><li>No capture on flip-charts </li></ul><ul><li>Outcome: what people take away in their heads </li></ul>
  69. 69. Summary <ul><li>Business is a conversation </li></ul><ul><li>Dialogue not debate </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge Café: simple process </li></ul><ul><ul><li>But a lot to learn to run them well </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Powerful learning & creativity tool </li></ul><ul><li>Can be adapted to varying situations </li></ul><ul><li>Low cost to run </li></ul>
  70. 70. David GURTEEN Gurteen Knowledge Fleet, United Kingdom Tel: +44 7774 178 650 Email:
  71. 71. Licence <ul><li>You may use these slides under the following Creative Commons Licence </li></ul><ul><li>Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>