Archive for Online

Activating Collective Wisdom

(first published in weDialogue, May 2017)
The capacity to activate collective wisdom is at the very heart of the work I do, both in my spiritual practice and in my work with groups through participatory group processes like World Café, Open Space, Circle, etc.. As a host of participatory practice, my understanding of collective wisdom has largely been that of a field of shared awareness that can arise within the group when certain conditions are in place.

While it’s certainly true that Collective Wisdom arises from particular qualities of intention and attention, in practice its presence or absence has always been a bit of a mystery to me. In my experience, sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn’t – even when it appears that pretty much the same conditions are in place.

So you can imagine the enthusiasm of my “yes” when long-time friend and colleague Alan Briskin – one of the pioneers in shaping the language and ideas associated with collective wisdom and a leading practitioner in the field – asked if I wanted to collaborate with him to produce an online program on this subject.

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Community Cafes at World Cafe

Following up on the three Community Cafes we hosted with World Cafe community members around the globe in September – Each of the three Cafes was a rich experience – small, intimate groups in heart-full conversation – and we learned a lot together.

The context for these Community Cafes was simple –
The online community space that we created 20 years ago that served the needs we had then very well is not necessarily able to support the needs of today in the same way.

Here is the “Harvest Report” to share the essence of what we learned and what is needed/wanted, with a graphic recording from the September 14th Cafe by Nancy White.

One of the things that came across loud and clear in these Community Cafes was a desire for more regular online World Cafes to connect and learn together.

We hosted the first one earlier this month, and the 2nd one is scheduled for November 16th at 9 – 11:30am Pacific Time / 11am – 1:30pm COT / 18:00 – 20:30 CET. These Community Cafes are free but you must register to participate.

Would you like to be part of the design and hosting team for it? Can you help to record it graphically, either manually or digitally? Part of what we are doing with these Community Cafes is giving ourselves opportunities to learn together, and well as connect with each other more regularly. So if you would like to get more involved with the World Cafe community, we invite you to join the hosting and/or harvesting team for the upcoming Community Cafe, and/or volunteer your time to support the Community development work that you asked for in the September Cafes.

Let’s make our community spaces reflect what we truly want from our interactions as an international community of practice!


Your Community Cafe hosts
Martin, Cecilia, Amy, Michaela, Ty, and Asma

Online World Cafe – A Participant’s View

The other day I came across this post by World Café participant Joan Davis … In it, she describes her experience of an online World Café in detail, revealing her thought processes as well as her emotions and sense of impact. In reading it, I’m struck by how her experience of an online Café is almost indistinguishable from the face-to-face version. Once again, I’m reminded of how powerful and direct these online World Cafés can be.

They’re also incredibly accessible – how else could you engage in rich, meaningful conversation with people all over the world without spending a small fortune on air fare and hotels?

impact-cafesThis month, on November 17th and 18th, there will be an opportunity to experience an online Café for yourself.

Connect with World Café hosts and other conversational change agents around the globe to discover what we’ve been learning over the last 20 years, and dream together into what we want to do next.

If you’ve never experienced an online World Café, this is your chance!  And of course if you HAVE, you know what we’re talking about…

There will be two dates so all the time zones in the world are represented (registration covers one or both Cafés). We really want this to be a great international harvest, so your voice is needed, wherever you are, whatever your experience. Register now to reserve your place at the table.


Online Global Impact Harvest Cafés: More Information | Register Now