Archive for June, 2011

A Tale of Two Cafés

Keith June 11th, 2011

David Gurteen has recently posted an article comparing his Knowledge Café concept and World Café, which are similar processes, but with “some subtle but significant differences”.

As I have been doing a fair bit of both work and writing on collaboration recently, I have been attempting to sharpen up my own ideas about these techniques and the differences. In practice, I tend to modify the techniques to match the context, rather than necessarily follow a strict format, but it is useful to understand the origins and strengths of the different approaches.

David has spelt out the differences quite thoroughly in his article, but I thought that it may be helpful to put together a bit of a summary here, also drawing on my own experience and observations.

 World Café Knowledge Café 
Started in 1995. Started in 2002.
Community focussed. Business focussed. 
Described in community language. Described in business language.
Used to address social issues and build community. Used to address business issues and build business communities.
Defined structure and process. Structure and process can be adapted to meet business needs.
Uses Table Hosts. Does not use Table Hosts.
The results of conversations are “harvested”. The conversations themselves are important – results are not normally harvested.

 

As David is at some pains to point out, he is not saying that there is anything wrong with the World Café approach – it is just different. Each approach has its place and purpose.

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