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World Cafe – Graphic Recording at 3:Generate

Last November I was asked to work alongside three of my Graphic Recording Heros at the 3:Generate Event for Methodist Youth in Southport – we all listened to the same World Cafe style event and each captured the outcomes in our own unique way.  It was fascinating to turn around after each session and see what each of us had drawn, and even more fascinating to see how different age groups in the room were attracted to the different visual maps.

Here is my version of the day… 

Scribing a World Cafe - 3:Generate Methodist Youth Event
Graphic Recording at 3:Generate Event

World Cafe was a great methodology to use with a room full of young people – they had paper and pens to draw and doodle on the table cloths, plenty of snacks and drinks to keep them well fuelled, and the short sessions kept their attention. They were also incredibly enthusiastic and hands shot up at the end of each session when it was time to feedback their ideas to the room.

I’ve drawn at World Cafe style events before and it works best for me (as graphic recorder) when each round of conversation is followed by immediate feedback – it gives me time to get all the comments up on the board and also means that the board can act as the memory bank for the room to remind everyone what was said in previous rounds.  When people can see their contribution it lets them know they’ve been heard, it sparks new ideas and allows the group’s work to be shared with others after the event.

If you’ve not heard of World Cafe here’s a bit more information about the methodology:

World Cafe

The World Cafe methodology provides a simple, effective and flexible format to host large group dialogue. It can be modified to meet a variety of needs based on the following five components:

1- SETTING – create a special environment (think Cafe style) with small tables, tablecloths, paper sheets to draw on, flowers and pens and maximum 4 -5 seats at each table. 

2 – WELCOME AND INTRODUCTION – the host introduces the methodology and sets the context for the meeting

3 – SMALL GROUP ROUNDS – the meeting flows with 3 or more 20 minute rounds of conversation at each table.  After 20 minutes each member of the group moves to a different table, with one person remaining as a host for the next group – they welcome and update the next group.

4 – QUESTIONS – each round is prefaced with a question, the same question can be used throughout or it can be changed for each round.

5 – HARVEST – after each round or at the end of the meeting each table is invited to feedback key points to the larger group.  This is where Graphic Recording can be used to map the conversation and capture the ideas generated around the room.

More information:  I’ve used as a source for this post.  Please check out the site for loads more information. I also have a great book called The World Cafe by Juanita Brown and David Issacs which gives in depth guidance to hosting World Cafe.

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