Archive for Open Space

What Juanita’s Up To!

More from Juanita Brown, co-founder of the World Café, including some highlights from her recent email on behalf of the World Café Community Foundation’s Harvest Fund Drive:

“I continue to be excited and delighted by the potential of this work at the leading edge of conversational leadership around the globe. I’m hopeful that with your support we’ll be able to expand our Wiser Together initiative which is empowering the collaboration of people across generations with the capacities to co-create communities and organizations that embody the wisdom of all generations. Here’s an interview from our own personal efforts in this regard on our ¨family farm¨ in North Carolina in collaboration with next generation leaders.

Juanita goes on to say:

I’m also very intrigued by the pioneering collaboration we’re exploring with the International Storytelling Center that is demonstrating the power of connecting individual and collective storytelling with catalytic conversations, community-building and committed action. We’re collaborating with their Staging Change Institute on Nov 3-6, and would be delighted to see others of you there!

In addition, the World Café is joining with others in nurturing inter-generational gatherings of leaders across modalities of conversational work, helping to catalyze a global effort to bring many of the doorways to collective intelligence into the “jardîn central¨—the central garden—of our human experience—and to use these on behalf of movements for positive futures across the planet.

Jardincentral_blog(Click the image to see it larger)

As David and I transition from our role as direct coordinators of our global work into the role of ambassadors for the ¨World as Café,¨ we are deeply grateful to Amy Lenzo, Deborah Goldblatt, Barbara Krohn and the core team who is continuing to nurture the life of the  World Café. We hope you, too, will continue to fuel this incredible movement with your time, your skills, your financial support, and your love.

With gratitude for all that you’ve helped to happen,


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Our immediate goal is to raise $25,000.00 by November 4, 2011.

Thank you to all of you who have already joined us in making this Harvest Fund Drive a great success. Please make your valuable contribution to the World Café Community Foundation now.

You’ll be helping to catalyze the most critical conversations of our time.


Day 3: Conversation Space Debrief

At the end of the conference, Conversation Space hosts gathered with Ginny and Janice from Pegasus, who had organized much of the conference organizers and supported this space in being created, in debriefing about the Conversation Space experience.

We started by taking them on a journey through our time together, using the richly illustrated graphics around the room, with those of us who were in the space at various time sharing our memories of what worked and the patterns we saw emerging.

We noted that several of the people who showed up on the first day because the other sessions were full ended up returning again and again throughout the entire conference.

Someone said how they’d seen so many friendships and shared work projects born in this room.

We were able to create a culture that flowed over into the lunch periods and the un-hosted time.

It offered a space for people to integrate what they were taking in, time to bring the information down from their minds to circulate in their hearts and bodies as well.

We shared how important it was that there was a window on the outside world, giving us the constant reminder of the larger context in which we are all held. The ability to see nature, in the trees and rain, and to feel her presence in our midst was crucial to many of us.


We all concluded that this was a successful experiment that will definitely be expanded in next year’s offerings at the 2008 Pegasus Systems Thinking conference in Boston.

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Day 1: Conversation Space

After the first keynote by Debra Meyerson, the conference moved into the morning’s concurrent sessions. This year we had arranged to have a conversation space available throughout the conference that would be hosted during the scheduled morning break-out sessions and afternoon forums.

Several of us from a variety of hosting communities – World Café, Open Space, and Art of Hosting – had gotten together, created a hospitable environment and devised a hosting schedule so that there would always be at least two hosts collaborating during each session. This first session was mine, working with the amazing Nancy White.

I was a bit nervous because this was the first one and would set the
tone. I’d never formally hosted a conversation before and hadn’t had
the chance to huddle with Nancy to get a sense of what we would do,
which I had expected we would. To compound my insecurity, most of the
initial people who gathered came because the other sessions were all

But even from the beginning the hosting team was attracted to play
together no matter whose ‘turn’ it was, so there were several others
there to give me courage and support and it soon became clear that I
knew exactly what to do. The conversation space was launched!


As our small circle grew to over 20 people, and the conversation began
to weave its juicy way around, our experiences from the morning began
to settle and reflect themselves back to us. Through the speaking of
our words and the listening to each other’s words, through the essence
that Nancy sensed in the conversation and translated into visible form,
colors, images, metaphors and phrases for us to see, we began to
integrate the information we had taken in and ground it. We began to
bring it through the cognition of our minds and into the knowing of our
hearts and bodies.

For the continuing blog harvest, of the afternoon session of the 1st day, click here.