Knowledge Café – insights discovery

Peter Jacsman and I attended Gurteen’s Knowledge Café master class in Bern last year and had some great insights.

Many people have pointed to the power of conversations and the importance of being present in the moment. Gurteen’s perspective is very similar. It is about the conversations that take place and not the harvesting of conversations, nor the outcomes that may be written down. It is what the conversations spark in people and leave with them to take forward; whether today, tomorrow or in six months. Like me, many participants were focused on what to do after the conversations.

V.S blog

What Gurteen emphasized is precisely not that. Gurteen asks us to stay away from writing what it is that we are talking about because it takes away from the moment. This brought me back to the concept of presencing which is found in in Presence by Senge, Jaworsky, Flowers, and Otto Scharmer, best known for the Theory U and U Lab.

Lessons learned

It’s about:

  • The Journey – the process over the product
  • Connection before content
  • Listening – learning from silence
  • Developing and building trust; building relationships
  • Creative destruction of structure: breaking down structure
  • Democratisation of group conversation
  • Bringing out the Potential in people
  • Avoiding distractions such as pen and paper to write or take notes
  • Conversations that are personal and social, that come with emotions, behaviours and so much more
  • What works best with a group that gets together to discuss common interests, which comes together voluntarily as a stand-alone “tool”

In an organisational environment the knowledge cafe is one tool amongst many and could be used in a problem-solving or decision-making process.

More information: David Gurteen 

Author: Véronique Sikora, Professor at BSL

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