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I would love to hear from folks who've graphically recorded World Cafes - how do you approach it, what do you find works best, what innovations have you come up with to enhance the experience, etc. etc?

The challenge for me is always how to manage the tsunami of information that comes out during the final harvest. Even when I collect ideas at the end of each round and start getting them up on the chart, there is still that big burst at the end, and I feel like I need 8 hands to capture it all!

Looking forward to hearing from anyone with ideas - including those who may not have graphically recorded Cafes themselves but have hosted or otherwise participated in dialogues where the visual recording was done particularly well!


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WE ARE STARTING the practitioner´s community with our pioneer viviana torrijos. we want to start formal and non formal ways to train visual recorders, besides pure experience.

i know margulie´s books. what other resources there are?
Susan Kelly has a great manual called The Nature of Graphic Recording. It is a wonderful resource as well.


Maria de los Angeles
Nancy's books are fantastic. I also get a lot of use out of the Grove books, especially their 'Graphic Facilitation'. Tony Buzan's books on mind mapping are also very helpful.
The WC I facilitated had about 60 people. At the end of round three, I asked people to write/draw their best ideas on 8x11 sheets of white paper large enough so they could be seen from a distance. We posted them on a big wall. I then gave them blue sheets to write themes/categories. (Could add another color for arrows or other symbols.)

I was nervous about this prior to the event but magic happened as I invited everyone up to post their ideas and to help organize the ideas. A few people stepped up because it was their strength to see patterns and organize them. A group of people hovered and made suggestions for organizing. Others not interested in this part of the process continued to talk about the ideas and some even started conversations about how to move towards implementation.

The whole group felt a lot of buy-in since the final design, although less sophisticated, was their creation.
Hi all

There will be a training in Brussels on how to develop your own graphic recording and harvesting abilitities.
See the event here if you are interested.

Dear world cafe people,

As visual recorders we have drawn our images at several world cafe`s over the years, and shown them to the participants afterwards in a slide show. So we came across several ways to practice your concept.

I love the basic idea of world cafe, and am glad that drawing or scribbling on the table cloth is a part of it (I believe that Nancy Margulies has influenced this a lot, thank you Nancy!). Only this idea is realized in very different ways. Some facilitators ask people very carefully to use this possibility to express their ideas in pictures, some rarely mention it. Some hang the table cloths on wires afterwards like a little exposition, others destroy them after each round without comment.

The participants often only write, seldomly put energy into scribbling. Once in Vienna I saw a girl producing phantastic drawings, the whole cloth was a piece of art, but this was just once. May be that the pure size of the cloths makes people a bit shy.

My idea thinking about the possibilities of visualizing the ideas, feelings, results, and making all the little images seen and honored afterwards:

Perhaps you could propose, that people draw on little cards which lay on the tables. Just one idea per card, and adding a few words to it. Afterwards one can gather all the cards and hang them on a prepared picture wall. If it goes well and there is time and energy for that, the participants also can cluster the cards, and come to a broad view of the day.

The idea of the small cards of course is taken from our way of visualizing, I am using these little cards since 16 years now, you can see this method on our website (below). Only so far we seldomly asked people to use them, so this would be an innovation.

I would love to discuss these possibilities with you!

Hey Avril!  Hello all!


I wrote a blog post about the Stages of a World Cafe Recording back in October 2010, and it keeps being discussed on LinkedIn.  The post is basically a blow-by-blow description of how the recording was created in the moment.  Julie suggested that I share it here, and it sounds like that post is an appropriate addition to this discussion.


One more thing, though. When planning a World Cafe, it's best to plan with the end in mind: what do you want people to do at the end of the event...a month after...six months after?  Otherwise, your Cafe runs the risk of being a nice event that got people pumped up and people enjoyed...but then fizzles out and leaves people wondering "hey, whatever happened with that stuff we did last month?"


The easiest way to plan with the end in mind is to bring your graphic recorder into the Cafe design process from the start.  As harvesters, it's what we take advantage of all we bring to the table!  : D


Hoping this finds all happy and well,




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