The World Cafe Community

Hosting Conversations about Questions that Matter

Dear TWC Community,


I am excited to share my experience with World Cafe conversations around Mental Health in Singapore today. The group consisted of members from a mental health charity and the Ministry of Health. We started with an introduction of the TWC principles and etiquette, and a quick ice-breaker (" you have 5 seconds to draw the person to your left"), followed by conversations around the following questions:


1) Think of a recent conversation that left you INSPIRED

a) what key elements contributed to this?

b) what patterns can we see emerging?


2) What influences have led to the shift from institutionalized mental health care to community-based health care?


3) Where can we draw inspiration from in envisioning the future of community-based mental health? (I used picture cards as a facilitation aid)


4) Harvesting collective discoveries (see attached photo)


All the participants responded well to the TWC approach - they found it an effective yet fun way to clarify their thinking around the new area of community-based mental health in Singapore that is still in its formative stages. Hopefully the stakeholders from Ministry of Health will adopt TWC in their next forum which involves hundreds of participants from the hospitals and social sector on the topic.


Key learnings and feedback: the initial drawing exercises helped the participants shift from their learned, cognitive approach to letting go, laughing and being less judgmental (especially about their artistic abilities), the more they experimented, the more creative they felt they became. The picture cards was also a powerful way to find the words and images to the questions posed. 


Thanks again to the TWC Level One Learning Program for giving me the confidence to run this session with the Mental Health Community in Singapore. I hope to share more experiences with the community SOON!

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I would like to acknowledge Jennifer Alviar for demonstrating the art of powerful questions by posting on the Level One Learning Program page: "what influences have led us from knowledge holders to wisdom gatherers?" - Q2 above led to some fabulous perspectives and sharing!


I've also adapted this question in a recent workshop to University faculty members "how can we get from knowledge holding to knowledge harvesting and sharing" which triggered an active discussion that drew valuable tacit knowledge from all the participants.


Thank you for your contribution, Jennifer!

Many thanks Denise for posting this wonderful experience. Your courage and wisdom will help many people in a most noble activity. May you continue to experience fruitful conversations...Your friend, Carlos


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