Knowledge Cafe Workshop


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Knowledge Cafe Workshop

  1. 1. The Gurteen Knowledge Cafe David Gurteen Gurteen Knowledge Facilitating Learning Conversations 22 nd May 2007
  2. 2. Begin with the end in mind <ul><li>12:00 -- 12:15 Introductions (15 mins) </li></ul><ul><li>12:15 -- 13:00 Business is a Conversation (45 mins) </li></ul><ul><li>13:00 -- 13:45 Knowledge Café Process (45 mins) </li></ul><ul><li>13:45 -- 14:15 Coffee (30 mins) </li></ul><ul><li>14:15 -- 15:30 Knowledge Café (75mins) </li></ul><ul><li>15:30 -- 16:00 Discussion & Wrap-up (30 mins) </li></ul>
  3. 3. Introductions
  4. 4. David Gurteen <ul><li>Independent Knowledge consultant, educator & coach </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge Website </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge Community/Letter </li></ul><ul><ul><li>14,000 people </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>150 countries </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Knowledge Cafés </li></ul><ul><ul><li>London, New York, Adelaide, Zurich </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Speed Networking <ul><li>A simple technique that can be used in a variety of settings to bring a group of people together </li></ul><ul><ul><li>to start to get to know each other </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>or get to know each other a little better </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. How do you Speed Network? <ul><li>Break into pairs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Find someone you don’t know </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Two minutes to chat then move on to another person </li></ul><ul><li>Tell your partner something unusual about yourself </li></ul><ul><li>When I blow my whistle once - move on </li></ul><ul><li>When I blow my whistle twice - its all over! </li></ul>
  7. 7. Business is a Conversation
  8. 8. 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>
  9. 9. 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>
  10. 10. 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>
  11. 11. Conversation “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?
  12. 12. Dialogue <ul><li>When we engage each other in dialogue </li></ul><ul><ul><li>we enter into a conversation with a view to learn from each other </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>rather than impose our views on the other. </li></ul></ul>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
  13. 13. 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
  14. 14. Dialogue Suppose we were able to share meanings freely without a compulsive urge to impose our view or conform to those of others and without distortion and self-deception. Would this not constitute a real revolution in culture. David Bohm, Physicist
  15. 15. Summary <ul><li>Business is a conversation </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>
  16. 16. The Knowledge Café Process
  17. 17. Background to Knowledge Cafe <ul><li>Background: conversation & dialogue </li></ul><ul><li>My dislike of ‘chalk & talk’ presentations </li></ul><ul><li>My desire for people to engage with the subject and to learn through conversation </li></ul><ul><li>Three concepts: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>We already have the knowledge </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A good question helps surface that knowledge </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>When we see things for ourselves we are more committed to act! </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. What is a Knowledge 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 surface their collective knowledge, to share ideas and to gain a deeper understanding of the subject and the issues involved. </li></ul>
  19. 19. 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>
  20. 20. Where is it used? <ul><li>I use it in public forums and within companies to explore complex issues </li></ul><ul><li>The Royal Society for the Arts uses a form of Knowledge Cafe in conjunction with Starbucks in the UK to discuss social issues relevant to the societies aims </li></ul><ul><li>I have also used it in the NHS to explore how people might better communicate and work together </li></ul>
  21. 21. When would a K-Café be run? <ul><li>To surface and share knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>To surface problems & opportunities </li></ul><ul><li>Get networking going </li></ul><ul><li>Gain new perspectives </li></ul><ul><li>Gain new ideas </li></ul><ul><li>To help form a team or community </li></ul><ul><li>To gain insight into a complex problem </li></ul><ul><li>To better understand an issue </li></ul><ul><li>To get buy-in for a new project </li></ul>
  22. 22. ISN Knowledge Cafe Particular mention must be made to the concept of the &quot;knowledge cafe&quot;. As pioneered by David and taught to my staff, it 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
  23. 23. 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 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>
  24. 24. 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>
  25. 25. 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 K-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>
  26. 26. Why is the K-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 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>
  27. 27. 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><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>
  28. 28. 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>
  29. 29. 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 & chairs - ideally round tables to seat about five people </li></ul><ul><ul><li>but you can run one in a lecture theatre if need be! </li></ul></ul>
  30. 30. What do you need 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 & biscuits </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Gurteen K-Cafés need none of these props but of course you could use them if available </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Refreshments do help – especially wine! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The aim is to create the right ambience </li></ul><ul><li>An unthreatening and hospitable environment </li></ul><ul><li>Everyone must feel safe to freely express themselves without any recriminations </li></ul>
  31. 31. How do you run one? <ul><li>K-Cafés can be run in a number of different ways. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Some formats are simple others are more complex </li></ul></ul><ul><li>I use a simple format and it’s the one I am going to describe </li></ul><ul><li>Runs for 90 minutes to a couple/few hours </li></ul><ul><li>Work best with between 20 and 30 people </li></ul><ul><li>Run with as few as a dozen or as many as 100 people </li></ul>
  32. 32. What's the process? <ul><ul><li>Facilitator takes less than 10 mins to introduce the K-Caf é and the subject under discussion. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Purpose of the K-Caf é is made clear </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Facilitator poses 1 or 2 key open ended questions. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Participants from into smaller groups of 4 or 5 to discuss the subject for 45 minutes. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The group re-assembles for an exchange of ideas as a whole for 45 minutes </li></ul></ul>
  33. 33. What subjects are 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>
  34. 34. What is 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>
  35. 35. What’s the role of the individual? <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 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>
  36. 36. 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 if they want to </li></ul>
  37. 37. 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>A ‘circle’ works wonderfully </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Does not take long to arrange chairs </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Only use microphones if absolutely necessary as they inhibit the natural flow of the conversation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Will be needed if > 40 people </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>May then need to fall-back on traditional report mode as conversation is difficult </li></ul></ul>
  38. 38. 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><ul><li>They are not reporting back to the facilitator! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The objective is to hold a ‘group conversation’ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ask people to stand if need be </li></ul></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 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hide! </li></ul></ul>
  39. 39. 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><ul><li>Facilitator needs to keep to time </li></ul>
  40. 40. How do you record the outcomes of a K-Café? <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>
  41. 41. What are the outcomes of a K-Caf é <ul><li>Real outcome is what you take away 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 better position to make more informed decisions </li></ul>
  42. 42. What other formats are there? <ul><li>Flipcharts/flowers/table cloths/pens etc </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Paper and pens at tables </li></ul></ul><ul><li>But can get in the way </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Need additional cost/budget </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If have that luxury then OK </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Groups move around </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Takes longer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>People don’t always like it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>OK if you can afford the time </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Be creative </li></ul><ul><ul><li>As long as it does not get in the way of the conversation </li></ul></ul>
  43. 43. Where can I learn more about K-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>
  44. 44. Questions?
  45. 45. Lets run a Knowledge Cafe
  46. 46. The Challenge of Knowledge Sharing What prevents us from sharing our knowledge more effectively? How might we overcome these barriers?
  47. 47. Knowledge Sharing <ul><li>Sharing knowledge is not about giving people something, or getting something from them. That is only valid for information sharing. </li></ul><ul><li>Sharing knowledge occurs when people are genuinely interested in helping one another develop new capacities for action; it is about creating learning processes. </li></ul>Peter Senge
  48. 48. Personal Reasons for Sharing <ul><li>To help other people & to help ourselves </li></ul><ul><li>Other people </li></ul><ul><ul><li>To get things done </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To build relationships so they in turn help us </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ourselves </li></ul><ul><ul><li>To get things done </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Learning to be gained </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Knowledge is perishable </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Someone else will make our knowledge productive first </li></ul></ul>
  49. 49. Barriers to Knowledge Sharing <ul><li>A silo mentality </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge is power </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of knowledge sharing processes </li></ul><ul><li>No time allowed </li></ul><ul><li>No knowledge sharing by executives </li></ul><ul><li>Managers do not walk the talk </li></ul><ul><li>Poor IT systems </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of encouragement </li></ul><ul><li>Bureaucracy </li></ul><ul><li>Resistance to change by managers </li></ul>Karl-Eric Sveiby
  50. 50. The Challenge of Knowledge Sharing What prevents us from sharing our knowledge more effectively? How might we overcome these barriers?
  51. 51. Discussion
  52. 52. David Gurteen Gurteen Knowledge Tel: +44 1252 812 878 Email: