- Paperback: 300 pages
- Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers; 1 edition (April 10, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1576752585
- ISBN-13: 978-1576752586
- Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.8 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 52 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #121,249 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The World Café: Shaping Our Futures Through Conversations That Matter 1st Edition
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I urge line leaders to employ this simple, but powerful approach for thinking together which ultimately improves the bottom line. -- Roger Saillant, President and CEO, Plug Power, Inc.
The World Café serves as an inspiration to help make greater mutual understanding across social and cultural differences possible. -- Lic. Esteban Moctezuma Barragan, Mexicos former Minister of Social Development
This book provides all of us the opportunity to embrace the future and let go of the past. -- Paul Borawski, Executive Director and Chief Strategic Officer, American Society for Quality
Understanding the processes that constitute the World Cafés conversation network is essential for understanding life and leadership in human organizations. -- Fritjof Capra, Author, The Tao of Physics; The Web of Life; and The Hidden Connections
a simple, brilliant, beautiful process that enables people to build collective knowledge about the issues that are important to them. -- Sandy Heierbacher, Director, National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD)
About the Author
Juanita Brown, Ph.D. is cooriginator of the World Café and has served as a Senior Affiliate at the MIT Sloan School’s Organizational Learning Center (now Society for Organizational Learning), as a Research Affiliate with the Institute for the Future and as a Fellow of the World Business Academy.
David Isaacs is President of Clearing Communications and designs strategic dialogue forums with senior leaders in the U.S. and abroad. David is also a co-originator of the World Café and serves as adjunct faculty with the University of Texas Business School’s Executive MBA Program.
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Top customer reviews
The most important aspect of this in our setting was the revolving tables ... meaning that small cliques didn't develop, but even more importantly, it allowed for discussions to be broader than between one small group. If you are looking into ways to set up conversations about important issues in your church and community, this is an excellent resource. It helps your participants (hopefully) look outside of the box and see possibilities instead of looking at ways things have always been done.
I suggest this as an excellent resource for churches going through a self-study in anticipation of seeking a new pastor, of pastors wanting to understand their congregations, and for any community wanting to hear voices that are often silenced through the majority.
For those of you who haven't yet experienced a World Café, we can only offer our condolences. It's unlike any other "tool" we've ever seen or used for enabling a group of individuals to become what Juanita likes to call a "collective wisdom." The World Café enables all participants at an event to meet, interact with, and learn from all the other participants. It is as different from a typical conference (with PowerPoint presentations and jumbotron television screens) as an intimate dinner with a lover is from a gathering of the faithful in St. Peter's Square in Rome.
This remarkable book is a rich and compelling conversation in itself about an incredibly important "new" process for generating new ideas, insights, relationships, and deep personal conversations. We are true believers, and even with our past experience with the World Café we found the compilation of personal stories, guidelines, and case examples wonderfully inspirational.
This is truly a remarkable book. I endorse it without reservation. No, let me go further: whether you know it or not, you need to buy this book.
Now, let me take just a few moments to give you a flavor of what this is all about. David Isaacs is fond of saying that conversation is for people what water is for fish: we are surrounded by it, but we hardly recognize how critical it is for life and meaning.
The World Café is an approach to group interaction that helps us remember what conversation really is: "the medium though which all of us together understand and create the realities we live in" (David Atlee, founder of the Co-Intelligence Institute, quoted in the Introduction).
When you participate in a World Café you find yourself seated at a small round table with three other people, who you may or may not know. The table is covered with a large piece of butcher paper, and there is a small vase of fresh flowers in the center. You have access to several crayons or markers, and you are engaging in conversation about something that really matters - typically one or two "Big Questions."
You work together for anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour, and then your Host/Hostess asks three of you to get up and move to three different tables to continue the conversation, while one remains behind to report to three new participants on the meanings behind the scribblings you've left behind on that butcher paper.
It all sounds so simple - yet the total experience is incredibly profound. You discover very quickly that the whole truly is greater than the sum of the parts. There really is a collective intelligence that is far more powerful than any of our individual insights.
To get back to the book for a final moment, it is written as a compilation of stories and examples of events where the World Café has been used. The book actually has many voices (what could be more appropriate?), and Juanita graciously (but not surprisingly) gives ample credit to the many thoughtful, caring people who have contributed to the process and operational design of the World Café over the years.
And the book is a "how to do it yourself" compendium as well. The core of the book articulates and makes real the seven core design principles of a World Café:
1. Set the Context
2. Create Hospitable Space
3. Explore Questions that Matter
4. Encourage Everyone's Participation
5. Cross-pollinate and Connect Diverse Perspectives
6. Listen Together for Insights, Patterns, and Deeper Questions
7. Harvest and Share Collective Discoveries.
Applied in combination, these basic design principles virtually ensure that you'll have a powerful learning and relationship-enhancing experience. Even if you never read the book, try living by these principles, and I'm willing to bet you'll find yourself having more meaningful conversations than you realized were possible.
And the best part of all this is that it isn't rocket science, a foreign language, or some elite skill that requires years to master. As David Isaacs says over and over again, it's just a matter of remembering (practicing and acting on) what you've known all along.
It was such a revelation to experience, first hand, how important, strategic and generative work can be done while people are having so much fun. Organizations who go through the World Café experience enter into a creative flow and do crucial, real, energizing, important learning.
I was fortunate enough to be able to learn by doing. What is surprising is the ease and natural feel of the whole experience from my first attempt. It is such an elegant process, as natural as breathing. I have seen, first hand, the World Café process do magic from a scale of a few people in a room to huge ballrooms containing hundreds of participants. I have seen it work from the classroom to the boardroom. I have seen it loosen stuck, rigid patterns of thought and transport cynics and critics back into the center of the fold. What was unfortunate was the difficulty in explaining the experience to someone who has never been through it, until, this book.
I bought several copies (at the price, it's a steal!), as they are inexpensive enough to hand out to people who have been searching like myself. Of course, there is one for myself to regularly thumb through, earmark, bookmark, highlight; there is one on the bookshelf (people routinely go through my shelves to see the latest and the best) and a spare one on the coffee table (where else?).
Some revelations in the book include: the experience transcends cultures (look up the World Café stories from Sweden, South Africa, Singapore and Saudi Arabia); the rigorous theoretical underpinnings of how and why it works (any graduate students out there?); everything you need to know to start one (including a list of supplies on page 172); numerous suggestions and examples (more than anyone will ever need) of how it can be adapted to fit almost any organizational situation; and finally, a worldwide community of practitioners whose work and descriptions beggar mine.