The World Cafe Community

Hosting Conversations about Questions that Matter


Cafe Bay Area

Northern California Cafe host, practioners, stewards and leaders who are experimenting with the power of conversation for learning, inspiration, and transformation.

Location: Wider San Francisco Bay Area
Members: 70
Latest Activity: Mar 20, 2015

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Comment by Terry Taylor on January 15, 2010 at 11:33am
Hello, my name is Terry Taylor and I have just joined the Cafe Bay Area. I am curious as to when members meet as well as where. Can anyone help?
Many thanks,
Comment by Barbara Chan CMC on January 11, 2010 at 10:51am
It's wonderful to "see" fellow Bay Area TWCers here and read the good work that folks are engaged in. I'm slowly getting used to this new World Cafe "home."

Thanks Debra for your post on improv. I remember that exercise and didn't know it was called "French Telephone." Years ago when I was active in the Bay Area Facilitators Guild, we had an improv session that, for me, was the seed for a shift in my thinking and practice. Plus, it was fun! The idea of combining improv and TWC is intriguing.

May I have your input? I'm facilitating a forum about diversity and inclusion management for up to 60 representatives of Bay Area organizations next week, for which I'll be using TWC. The room that we're using has a platform (stage). The host company suggested that I use their AV and projection system. Because I have a graphic style of session notetaking, I've always used flip chart paper and 4-foot high butcher paper scrolls to record the sessions. This facility can accommodate the flip charts, but the way the room is shaped, the walls won't allow for the butcher paper scrolls. My sister who is a college teacher (but doesn't know TWC or graphic recording) suggested using a transparency projector. I've never used a transparency projector to capture and project TWC notes.

Does anyone have experience of this, and if so, are you open to a phone conversation this week? I can be reached at 510-233-0580, or please email me at with your contact info and I will call you on my dime.

Much appreciation!
Comment by Debra Gerardi on December 5, 2009 at 11:41am
Ni Nancy! I would love to. I just did a workshop yesterday using improv as a tool for nurturing resilience among health professionals who are experiencing compassion fatigue. We integrated a more traditional dialogue format with the exercises since it was a small group (17 people) but I can see how we could integrate improv exercises with follow up inquiry questions to further engage people in the cafe model.

An example of integrating the two:

1. Improv exercise: French telephone
How to: Have people from 3 cafe tables (12- 15 people) stand in a circle. One person does a physical movement using their whole body. The person to their right copies the exact movement and passes it to the next person. As the movement goes around the circle, everyone can see how change happens as something passes through them- even when they are trying to keep it the same. The sillier the movement the better!

2. Cafe Inquiry following the exercise: What surprised you about the exercise? What changes have occurred in your (work area/ life/ relationships...) because of a contribution you have made? What could shift to enable you to feel more at ease with change in your life? What helped you to overcome the resistance you may have been feeling when we stated the improv game? etc...

This is just one example but I think the combination could be powerful and provides a way of engaging the whole body in a safe and fun format... hmmm... food for thought. Thanks Nancy!
Comment by nancy margulies on December 5, 2009 at 11:27am
Welcome to Deb. She and I hosted a World Café a number of years ago -- Deb is a multi-talented person from health care to law, to improvisational theater. I would love to see Deb add her thinking on the use of improv as a possible add-on to World Cafe experiences.
Comment by Debra Gerardi on December 5, 2009 at 11:21am
Hello Everyone- I am new to the group. I am happy to say that we will be using the cafe format for an upcoming event in January as we launch a new community of practice dedicated to improving conflict engagement in healthcare organizations. We are privileged to have Etienne Wenger leading our inquiry. A good way to start 2010! I look forward to learning from all of you...
Comment by Andrea Dyer on November 29, 2009 at 9:06pm
Welcome Sharon - so glad to see you here! And I hope to meet you in person soon! Andrea
Comment by Sharon Keating on November 28, 2009 at 11:52am
Hello colleagues and thank you to Andrea for inviting me to join the group. Looking forward to learning from and collaborating with you.
Comment by Laura Peck on November 6, 2009 at 3:43pm
Seattle sounds like it was a wonderful space for learning and planting the seeds of collaboration. What might hub-building look like? what might be a first step?
ready to play?
Comment by Andrea Dyer on November 6, 2009 at 1:05pm
Juanita - thank you for sharing your experiences at the ST conference! Sounds like great conversations are perkulating! I can't wait to hear more about both the conversational leadership and multi-gen collaboration conversations. Warmly, Andrea
Comment by juanita brown on November 6, 2009 at 10:08am
Hi everyone,
We just returned from Seattle at the Systems Thinking conference where David Isaacs hosted the opening Cafe, our very own Tom Hurley, Amy Lenzo and Muryah Baldwin hosted a wonderful large Forum on Conversational Leadership, and Samantha Tan and I hosted a really fun Forum on Multi-Generational Collaboration with folks from 14 to 86 present. We then hosted a small gathering of folks who were already there around the multi-generational work and there's a lot of excitement about the Bay Area becoming one "hub" for our mutual learning around inter-generational collaboration. Anyone want to play?
Fond regards to all,

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