Knowledge cafe

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A means of bringing a group of people together to have an open, creative conversation on a topic of mutual interest to surface their collective knowledge, to share ideas and insights and to gain a deeper understanding of the subject and the issues involved


A knowledge café brings people together to have an open, creative discussion on topics of mutual interest. It can be organized in a meeting or workshop format, but the emphasis should be on flowing dialogue that allows people to share ideas and learn from each other. It encourages people to explore issues in a novel or original way generating new understanding and ideas that can be used constructively in an innovative environment. It also helps people network and make connections for future work activities and collaboration.

A Knowledge Café can help to:

  1. Flush out issues which need airing & exploring;
  2. Build a consensus around an issue or topic;
  3. Gain mutual understanding of a complex issue;
  4. Gain a deeper understanding of one’s own views and thinking process.

A knowledge café is run by a facilitator, who before the event considers the topic for discussion and invites appropriate participants to attend. During the knowledge café event, members arrange themselves in small groups and have an open exchange of ideas. It is normal for such discussions to last around 30–60 minutes. At the end of the group interaction, the facilitator asks each group in turn to summarize the main points of the discussion. Cross-fertilization of new ideas occurs and it is common practice for the facilitator to capture the key points raised and distribute the findings to all members at a later date.

The Knowledge Cafe has been popularised and by David Gurteen; see [1] on "How to run a Knowledge Café".