The It Gets Better World Café

I’ve never been in a World Café that was bor­ing. Peo­ple become ener­gized, excited, cre­ated, and inspired.”

World Café is an emerg­ing global facil­i­ta­tion model for com­mu­nity dia­logue uti­liz­ing the approach of appre­cia­tive inquiry. It Gets Bet­ter com­pany mem­bers will coor­di­nate a thought­ful dia­logue among 12‐36 par­tic­i­pants to exam­ine the state of LGBT life in an orga­ni­za­tional or local community.

Par­tic­i­pants may include rep­re­sen­ta­tives from local LGBT orga­ni­za­tions and sup­port ser­vices, promi­nent local LGBT indi­vid­u­als, local elected offi­cials, local school admin­is­tra­tors or fac­ulty lead­ers. Other appro­pri­ate par­tic­i­pants might include stu­dents, mem­bers of law enforce­ment, artists, com­mu­nity orga­niz­ers and spir­i­tual leaders.

Trained com­pany facil­i­ta­tors will guide small group table dis­cus­sions through a series of ques­tions designed to exam­ine chal­lenges in the orga­ni­za­tion or com­mu­nity, a vision for improv­ing con­di­tions, and resources avail­able to imple­ment that vision.

This struc­tured, impar­tial facil­i­ta­tion model will advance dia­logue toward mutual agree­ments and mean­ing­ful plans for the future. A pleas­ant meet­ing space with round tables, snacks and bev­er­ages, and pleas­ing light­ing enhances these relaxed com­mu­nity con­ver­sa­tions. (120‐180 min.)

Peo­ple really want to have sig­nif­i­cant conversations.”

How can we enhance our capac­ity to talk and think more deeply about the crit­i­cal issues fac­ing our com­mu­ni­ties? World Café is a facil­i­ta­tion model devel­oped in 1995 by Juanita Brown and David Isaacs as a means to take par­tic­i­pants through a series of con­ver­sa­tions from which emerges a kind of col­lec­tive intel­li­gence. As Brown explains (2005), “We move away from a con­fin­ing sense of self and our small cer­tain­ties and into a spa­cious­ness where new ideas can reveal themselves.”

World Café con­ver­sa­tions are designed on the assump­tion that peo­ple already pos­sess the wis­dom and cre­ativ­ity to con­front even the most dif­fi­cult challenges.

As Brown explains, the process involves brief, casual con­ver­sa­tions of evolv­ing rounds among groups of four to five peo­ple. Facil­i­ta­tors ask a series of gen­er­a­tive ques­tions to spur dia­logue, record sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tions, and help find con­nec­tions among themes and top­ics. As the dia­logue pro­gresses, the col­lec­tive wis­dom of the group becomes acces­si­ble and inno­v­a­tive pos­si­bil­i­ties for action emerge.

In this model, peo­ple often move rapidly from ordi­nary con­ver­sa­tions – which keep most peo­ple stuck in the past and are often divi­sive and super­fi­cial, toward con­ver­sa­tions in which there is deeper col­lec­tive under­stand­ing or for­ward move­ment in rela­tion to a sit­u­a­tion that peo­ple really care about.

World Café Guidelines:

  1. clar­ify the purpose
  2. cre­ate a hos­pitable space
  3. explore ques­tions that matter
  4. encour­age everyone´s contribution
  5. con­nect diverse perspectives
  6. lis­ten for insights and share discoveries

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