The World Cafe Community

Hosting Conversations about Questions that Matter

World Cafe - Fielding Research Group


World Cafe - Fielding Research Group

Research that feeds off of itself. A research community dedicated to exploring how to contribute to the evolution of the intersection of The World Cafe and of Fielding Graduate Institute - An act of transformation of the whole.

Location: Across the world
Members: 56
Latest Activity: Oct 17

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Comment by Alice MacGillivray on December 16, 2018 at 9:02am

I know Niels is consumed, so haven't wanted to interrupt his work.  If I can tap into more depth than your note below at some time, that would be great.  

As you can imagine, I frequently think about the topics you raise below.  This isn't only because of TWC-as-research but also the plethora of "_____ Cafes" that have arisen over the years (This ISN'T TWC because we sit in squares).  OK...I'm being a bit facetious, but not much).  And similarly, the debates over most new ways of doing research being variations of established methodologies vs. "Now we need netnography because we're on the net."  Call me a coherence buff.  I'll be working in a Cafe with students in a month--thus my post!  

Wonderful to hear from you too!  BTW, I have a few photos from that first TWC as research session in Anaheim. 

Comment by Amy Lenzo on December 16, 2018 at 8:54am

Dear Alice,

How FABULOUS to hear from you - it's been far too long. There is indeed a book in progress (with a draft due by the end of the month!!) and we'd love to connect with you about your question. I think the simplest thing to say  here is that the field of research is changing along with World Cafe and what we have understood as the boundaries of data and data gathering are expanding as we look at World Cafe and other dialogic or participatory engagement as research. At the same time, many researchers are shifting the form of World Cafe as it is used in research contexts. Sometimes those changes stay true to the WC design principles, but not always. So then there is a question not only is it research, but is it World Cafe? The places these explorations are happening are many - classrooms, dissertations and theses, whenever there are evaluation metrics involved, etc.. Write to me back channel (I still have a WC email address) and let's be in touch about this...  Perhaps we could meet up with co-author Niels Agger-Gupta, as we are meeting almost every day to complete our deadline.

Warm Hugs to you!


Comment by Alice MacGillivray on December 11, 2018 at 8:15am

Hello everyone.  I know a lot of work is in progress for a book on this topic, but I'm not an author, so will ask a question here.

I recall conversations early in the life of TWC about its focus on (I'm paraphrasing) being in the moment, listening deeply and engaging in dialogue.  If one thinks of TWC as a data gathering method...the focus needs to shift gathering.  I know there are both/and arguments.  But has this shift and its implications been explored explicitly somewhere?  I've not found it.  Thanks!

Comment by Tonnie van der Zouwen on November 26, 2012 at 4:53am

As a practioner-research I did a six-year PhD study at Tilburg University. I was looking for answers to 'When and how are Large Scale Interventions effective for sustainable change' and 'how does this look like in practice'.  I developed a practical guide for Large Scale Interventions (LSI). I see LSI as a participative approach for organisational change or community development, involving stakeholders of the central issue or task in every stage of the change process. On one or more occasions (a representation of) the whole system meets in one room, to build shared understanding and find common ground for next steps. To enable working with the whole system in the room, large group intervention methods are used, such as World Café, Open Space Technology, Future Search, Search Conferences, and Real Time Strategic Change (Whole-Scale Change TM).

The guide includes an evaluation instrument with success factors and effects, gathered in a field study based on multiple methods and sources, making a syntheses of existing knowledge and experiences.  

The success factors and effects, with their indicators and methods to find evidence are categorized following an interesting model, Research model interventions.jpg . From there I have build an Evaluation instrument.

Depending on the aims of the evaluation you can use this instrument on different levels of detail, to assess pre-conditions before, assess performance during, and evaluate effectiveness after the intervention. The instrument is tested by reconstructing three cases after two years. What are sustainable effects? How effective was the LSI?

The Guide is tested in two interactive ReSearch Conferences, with up to 60 participants (researchers, practitioners, clients). 

The Practical Guide is part of the book 'Building an evidence based practical guide to Large Scale Intervent... 

If you want more details or if you are interested in scoretables, please contact me at 

Comment by juanita brown on November 25, 2012 at 6:24am

Hi all,

I did my doctoral dissertation research  on the World Cafe and our book The World Cafe: Shaping our Futures Through Conversations that Matter was based on that research.  There are a lot of stories in there, as well as on the Storynet here under "Conversations and Stories" on this website.

Fred Steier, a senior research guy who was my doctoral dissertation advisor might be a good resource as would Jerry Nagel who is doing his doctoral dissertation not on the World Cafe specifically, but on these types of processes. 

There is also another guy, Flavio Mesquita, in Brazil who is doing his doctoral research in collaboration with the UN related to a major large scale change project in education using the World Cafe as the core process.

If you want their contact info, write me at


Juanita Brown-Co-Founder, The World Cafe

Comment by Lisa Wocken on November 25, 2012 at 12:13am

Thanks Ria.  Very helpful!  :D

Comment by Ria Baeck on November 24, 2012 at 12:09pm

Lisa, the only person that I know that does research (at a university) related with these kind of processes is Isabelle Mahy. She might be a member here on this site, otherwise you will find her when you google.

Comment by Lisa Wocken on November 15, 2012 at 9:34am

Hey everyone.  I host a weekly video blog on the subject of Happiness, Leadership, and Conversation, and thought this would be the perfect place to garner suggestions for future episodes dedicated to research done on the topic of conversation.  Here's the link to get a feel for the episodes I've already conducted on the topic.  I was thinking an episode explaining World Café methodology or success stories would be worthwhile, but I'm really hoping to ground each episode in research.  Any thoughts from this group?

Comment by Lisa Wocken on June 5, 2011 at 6:18pm



Thanks for the additional insights.  This will definitely help me explore the topic even further.  Much appreciated!  :)

Comment by Ria Baeck on May 28, 2011 at 11:46am

Hello Lisa, I'm not a scholar, but I think you are right about David Bohm being quite central regarding dialogue.

As I see you make the distinctions between dialogue, debate and discussion - do you know the work of Otto Scharmer, and his four fields of listening and conversation. Might fit in nicely I guess.


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