Gogo Leadership #2: World Café Collaboration

The world café method for leading collaborative dialogue is a simple and effective way of hosting a large group of people, specifically for dialogue and discussions.

Maureen Groch (Gogo Mo) who is the Head of Staff of Development at Good Work Foundation (GWF) has been using the method for many years, both in professional and educational settings, and sees the value of the process specifically because, in her experience, it allows a group to quickly access collective wisdom.

The GWF team used the method at the beginning of 2016 as part of an open exercise to interpret and share ideas on the organisation’s six main values: Excellence, Creativity & Innovation, Learning, Nurturing, Respect and Fun.

“African leaders have been implementing the world café method in scenarios that would happen in villages and small communities for centuries, and – when delivered properly – the method promotes ubuntu,” said Gogo Mo. “It organises people into ‘cells’ in an informal environment and then asks the group to discuss a specific question, before presenting thoughts back to the entire group.” To read Gogo Mo’s explanation of ubuntu, and its role in organisations, click here.

Gogo Mo explains six steps for implementing a world café:

  • Set the theme (for example, a café about your organisations values)
  • Choose two facilitators, usually leaders, who will guide the theme and set the questions
  • Set a number of questions related to the theme. For example: (a) What does excellence mean to the GWF team? (b) How can teachers balance their own learning with the learning of their students?
  • Create a café space: Usually people around a table that is covered with sheets of paper. Includes snacks, coffee, drinks, just like at a café. Include lots of different colour pens
  • Give at least five minutes for each question, and then ask one person from each cell to mention three points that their cell raised in answer to the question. The cell group can list their points on a post it, that can be stuck around the question on a board for everyone to see
  • After each cell has answered the question, the facilitator should summarise by finding commonalities in the answers

If you have questions about the world café method of collaboration, feel free to email Gogo Mo on mo@goodworkfoundation.org.

By Mfumo Quiet Thobela, Hazyview Digital Learning Campus Media Intern

The GWF staff was already using the cafe method through the daily morning meetings under the Digital Tree before the open exercise under the leadership of the two Gogos: Mo Groch and Anne Vanzyl took place at the beginning of 2016.

The GWF staff was already using the cafe method through the daily morning meetings under the Digital Tree before the open exercise under the leadership of the two GWF Gogos: Mo Groch and Anne van Zyl took place at the beginning of 2016.

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The GWF staff team used the cafe method at the beginning of 2016 as part of an open exercise to interpret and share ideas on the organisation’s six main values: Excellence, Creativity& Innovation, Learning, Nurturing, Respect and Fun.

The ides that each group comes up with and writes on paper are stuck on one board, categorizing the ideas based on similarities to scale them down to a single meaning.

The idea that each group comes up with and writes on paper are stuck on one board, categorising the ideas based on similarities to scale them down to a single meaning.

All the ideas are written on sticky note paper so they can be stuck in categories on the wall on board.

All the ideas are written on sticky note paper so they can be stuck in categories on the wall or on a board.

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