Here is a small collection of videos from some of my past Knowledge Cafés. I have added some explanatory notes to each video to help set the context in which each was run that will give you a flavor of the various forms the Café can take and the dynamics of a Café.
I don’t suggest you watch the longer videos in full – juts browse them to get a feel for the various ways in which the Café can work.
A snippet of the conversation at a Gurteen Knowledge Cafe Workshop at the RSA in London in December 2011.
The video is not meant to capture the conversation but the engagement of the people and the energy in the discussions.
The small round tables in proximity with each other and four people per table make this an almost perfect setting for a Café.
A Gurteen Knowledge Café which I custom designed and run for Johnson & Johnson in Cork, Ireland in November 2015.
This Café was a little different to my regular Cafés in that people are standing at small pod-like tables and although not obvious from the video – 4 Cafés were being run in parallel. You can learn more about the design and the set-up here.
A Gurteen Knowledge Café on Conversational Leadership that I ran for the Knowledge Management Society Indonesia (KMSI) at the Telkom Corporate University in Bandung in September 2014.
The tables are small and round – almost ideal, and there are 4 to 5 people per table – again a good size. What with some basic refreshments such as food and water, an almost perfect Café setting as you tell by the degree of engagement.
A Gurteen Knowledge Café at the KMPAP conference in the Knowledge Management Research Centre, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University facilitated in 2006.
This video is 40 minutes long and captures a full Café. It is slightly unusual in that I hosted it with a colleague Raksha Sukhia.
Some of the small group conversation has been edited, but enough remains to get a feel for the dynamics, but the whole group discussion is included in almost its entirety.
It is a large Café and the room, and the layout of the table and chairs are far from perfect – in fact, it looks a little chaotic. This is often the case in a public Café but as you can see this only adds to the energy in the room.
It is an excellent example of the degree of engagement and energy that can occur in a Café. Also, note the informality – another key element of any Café.
A Gurteen Knowledge Cafe at the KM Egypt conference in Cairo, Egypt in September 2010.
This video is 50 minutes in length and covers most of the Café. I start the session with a rather long talk as to what the Café is all about before the actual conversation begins.
The size of the conference hall, the large conference tables, and large groups are far from ideal for a Café. Neither was my long introduction. But as you can see it works well, and there is a high degree of engagement from the participants. Many a conference talk could be adapted to run this way.
A Gurteen Knowledge Cafe held at the SMARTlab at the University of East London, England in October 2006.
Another full-length video of over 50 minutes. This captures the energy and engagement of the small group conversations, and unlike most of my Cafés, a representative from each table briefly presents to the room at the end the discussions.
A series of five short videos of an open Knowledge Cafe that I held in Singapore in February 2012.
This Café like so many was a little different. First, it was set in a bar with a large number of participants. The tables and the layout of the room were far from ideal, and my talk about the Café was lengthy.
Given the room layout and the number of participants, we could not form a circle at the end of the Café, and so I took comments and questions from people with roving mikes. In many ways, the Café was far from perfect but as you can see it still works well.
Go to the start of the fourth video where I ask for comments and insights. I have to wait almost a minute and a half before someone speaks up. Follow up comments are also slow in coming but things start to gather pace, and over time a lot of thoughts are shared.
I have learned over the years, especially in Asian environments just to wait patiently for someone to start. If the group is large enough, someone will eventually speak up, and after the first, the going gets easier.
This page is part of an online book on Conversational Leadership that I am in the process of writing.
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