World Cafe: On / Offline


  • Time

    30-60 mins
  • Level

    4 (out of 5)

One of our favourite conversation formats to let large groups discuss various topics.

The perks:
1) it works hybridly so both offline & online
2) it uses the power of group think: participants are building on each other
3) covers several topics in one session


World Café Facilitation Exercise Mischief Makers
  1. Just like in a Café, people can discuss several topics in small groups (6–10 people).

  2. Each of the different conversations is led by a facilitator, who also captures the main outcomes.

  3. People are switching from topic to topic, building upon each other’s ideas and thoughts.

  4. By setting a timer for each conversational round, the discussion keeps dynamic and efficient.

  5. After every group of people has joined every conversation topic the main insights or end-results are shared back with the whole group.

👥 In an offline environment 

People are sitting in groups at tables related to different questions/topics. You can prepare a paper table cloth for participants to write on and/or have the table’s facilitator take notes on a Flipchart. When the round is over the participants switch to the next table and build on what the previous group has worked out.

🌐 In an online setting 

Participants are put into breakout rooms. To capture the ideas & thoughts use an online whiteboard (i.e. on MURAL) with a dedicated section/area for each topic where the facilitator downloads insights. The difference to the offline setup is, that the group always remains in the same break out room; only the facilitator moves and brings the specific topic to the next group.

Materials // Remarks

  • Make sure to communicate timings clearly so that participants know when it’s time to wrap-up and move on to the next topic.

  • If you’re hosting the world cafe online platforms like Zoom will enable the host to move facilitators across rooms.


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