World Cafe


  • Helps to surface collective knowledge.
  • As a technique to share ideas and insights.
  • To gain a deeper understanding of the subject and the issues involved.


World Café, also known as Knowledge Café, is a simple and flexible format for hosting large group dialogue. World Café is an effective way to host meaningful conversations that stimulate collective wisdom and engage collaborative action.

It is led by a facilitator, who begins by explaining the purpose of World Cafés and the role of conversation in business life. The facilitator then introduces the café topic and poses one or two key open-ended questions. For example, if the topic is knowledge sharing, the question for the group might be: “What are the barriers to knowledge sharing in an organization, and how do you overcome them?”[1]

When the introduction session is complete, the group breaks into small groups, with about five people in each group. Each small group discusses the questions for about 45 minutes. Participants then return to the circle and the facilitator leads the group through the final 45-minute session, in which people reflect on the small group discussions and share any thoughts, insights and ideas on the topic that may have emerged. A knowledge café is most effective with between 15 and 50 participants.[2]


  • Clarify the purpose of the café.
  • Encourage everyone’s contribution.
  • Explore questions that matter.
  • Listen.

[1] “Knowledge Cafe.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 16 Mar. 2012. Web. 19 July 2012. <>.