The World Cafe Community

Hosting Conversations about Questions that Matter

Dear World Cafe Friends,

Thank you for allowing me here!

I have hosted about 5 World Cafes - I’ve loved each one!

I have a question, after a metaphor by  Juanita Brown (A Resource Guide for Hosting Conversations That Matter at The World Café - 7 - By Juanita Brown and the World Café Community, 2002,

Juanita says, “Imagine a ball of yarn passing overhead from one person in the room to another who shares a connected idea… and then to another and another.”

I have a World Cafe planned with 100 people - I’m wondering if anyone has actually used a ball of yarn during the Harvesting section?

Might it work, to start the harvesting by asking a table host to stand to share findings, give that person the end of a ball of yarn, and then ask them to throw the ball to the next volunteer?

I’m thinking this may be visually effective: the interconnectedness of ideas. It may also be a bit of fun, and improve listening (hopefully all others will be be more alert, to see where the yarn goes next…)

Has anyone tried this?

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Hi Lesley,

Yes, that's a great idea!  My only question is that with 100 people (about 25 tables) if it can logistically be done easily in terms of tossing the ball of yard and people not being able to catch it etc.  If people could "walk the ball of yarn" (which you'd want to be sort of thick yard rather than skinny yarn) to each other that might work--but it could slow down the sharing if you have a limited time for the harvest.

My suggestion would be to experiment with some friends in advance in the approximate space of the room to imagine how it would go and to actually toss the ball and see what happens!

Best of luck in playing with this!


Thanks, Juanita - I'll let you know how it works out...


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