Let’s make a coffee shop: the “Knowledge Café” business meeting
The most important thing is to know the purpose of the meeting. If you are interested in picking up new ideas, brainstorming, knowledge sharing, or joint problem solving instead of a classical lecture or a general debate, the Knowledge Café session will prove to be a great solution.
To organize it, a “café” needs to be arranged, the “clientele” of which will be the participants in the event. This is a good option for either a stand-alone meeting, as well as for a corresponding meeting to another business event.
As befits a real café, tables are indispensable elements of the space, with a maximum of five people sitting at them. They have to be provided with paper tablecloth, napkins or just sheets of paper on which the participants will write their quick notes and ideas from the discussion. Beverages are welcome, but remember that what is primarily consumed in a Knowledge Café is dialogue and the exchange of thoughts. The goal here is a conversation in itself, a spontaneous and creative clash of views, sharing ideas and proposals.
The meeting is started by a moderator who explains the rules to the participants and gives them a topic or question to consider during the session. The whole meeting may be organised in two ways:
At first, participants divided into several groups discuss the problem at their tables for about 45 minutes. Then all of them together present and summarise the conclusions reached in the smaller teams. To make it simpler, in each group we may designate a person who will be responsible for collecting key conclusions and presenting them to all the participants.
In the second version, the groups speak for a shorter time, e.g. for a quarter hour, and, after that, the participants switch tables. Because of this, participants sitting at one table learn about the opinions of others and can comment on them. However, one should keep in mind that the group leaving the table leaves their representative, who will present their conclusions to newcomers to the table. In the end, after a few rotational rounds, they all meet again for a joint discussion and present their conclusions to all the participants.
To make this final meeting a loose talk, the whole group of Knowledge Café participants should not have more than 25 people. A higher number of participants requires the use of microphones, but this does not suit the climate of a coffee shop and disturbs the atmosphere of spontaneous dialogue. After all, it is all about creating natural circumstances, conducive to openness, sincere opinions and ad hoc ideas. For this reason, it is not worth prolonging sessions, as they should last a maximum of 2 hours. Unless the participants get so involved they will not want to end – after all, commitment is a great value…
Organise a Knowledge Café or another event in one of the Vienna House hotels in Poland.
Contact person: Barbara Drozdowska, Regional Sales Assistant, Phone: +48 (32) 7838 143,