Business Moderation: the World Café Method

Hello, back from a hopefully restful and relaxing summer!

Before the summer break we were very focused on Birgits book publication, but now it is again time for a “normal” blog article.

After we introduced you to methods like the “Disney” or the “Fish-bowl” method, we would now like to pick up on a tried and tested method which we personally like a lot and which you can utilise very well in your trainings and workshops: the so-called “World Café“.

Sounds quite relaxed, right? Some of you probably know this method under a different name, like Idea-circle, knowledge-rotation, Trend-Café, strengths-idea-journey.

Eureka World Café

Use your groups collective intelligence

The World Café serves to develop a collective intelligence and it is very flexible depending on the goal, for example, to

  • Getting to know each other, networking, “breaking the ice”
  • Exchanging view points, ideas, expectations
  • Gathering solution approaches
  • Reflecting, to sum up

What do you need and how should your space be prepared?

  • Small (standing) tables, optionally with sufficient and accurately counted seating arrangements
  • Paper tablecloths or flip chart papers
  • Coloured facilitation pencils or facilitation cards for each table (depending on the goal) Maybe cards with appropriate questions for each table
  • Drinks, snacks
  • Flip charts / pin boards for results Facilitation case
  • Microphone for the facilitator


When the time has come, the facilitator / trainer will explain the sequence & the timing allowances: first the participants will split into groups of 4 – 6 people and gather at the (standing) tables. There, all participants will go over the same present question (s). Ideas & thoughts in the respective groups are written down on the “tablecloths” (= flip chart) or facilitation cards.

The rounds of talks last between 15 – 30 Minutes – then the participants switch tables.

This works like this: During the first round, each table selects a facilitator (the “host”). He/she stays when the time to switch the table has come and informs the newcomers (the “Travellers”) what has been discussed in the previous round. He/she also reminds the guests to write down or record important keywords, pays attention to the time and makes sure everyone gets to have their say. By the way, joining the discussion is not forbidden!

After 3 rounds (in exceptional cases, we only do 2 rounds), the group results will be presented by the respective facilitator.

5 tips to make your World Café a success

  1. Depending on the goals ,you will have to formulate appropriate questions (these are critical to success!)
  2. Explain task/s in the plenary and visualise them.
  3. Keep the table composition in an as unknown group of people as possible.
  4. Facilitator points out to record insights / ideas / thoughts visually – from everyone – including pictures
  5. Make the room as hospitable as possible to produce a casual atmosphere.

World Café

Do you have any prior experience with the “World Café” facilitation method? We’d be interested, what you think of it! We personally like this method very much because it motivates our participants to exchange ideas and it is often easier to contribute in a “coffee house setting” than in front of the gathered group.

Try it! We’re sure you will enjoy it!

All the best!
Your BusinessMind team