75 minutes

No. of speakers

Maximum number of speakers (facilitators): 4

For the purposes of the AIEC X-CD submission system, all café session facilitators are referred to as ‘speakers’.


The 'World Café' is a structured conversational process intended to facilitate open and intimate discussion, and link ideas within a larger group to access the 'collective intelligence' or collective wisdom in the room.

Participants or table discussants move between a series of tables where they continue the discussion in response to a set of questions, which are predetermined and focused on the specific goals of each café session.

To read more about the world café concept and method, please visit

The following session breakdown is suggested:

1. Welcome and introduction

The facilitator begins with a welcome and an introduction to the process, setting the context, sharing the etiquette and putting participants at ease.

2. Small group round(s)

The process begins with the first of two, 20-minute rounds of conversation for the small group seated around a table. In some cases, there may only be the opportunity to have one round. If the facilitator chooses to have more than one round, at the end of the 20 minutes each member of the group moves to a different table. They may choose to leave one person as the 'table host' for the next round, who welcomes the next group and briefly fills them in on what happened in the previous round.

3. Questions

Each round is prefaced with a question specially crafted for the specific context and desired purpose of the session. The same questions can be used for more than one round, or they can build upon each other to focus the conversation or guide its direction.

4. Harvest

After the small groups (and/or in between rounds, as needed), individuals are invited to share insights or other results from their conversations with the rest of the large group. These results are reflected visually in a variety of ways, most often using graphic recording in the front of the room.

Session criteria

Read review and selection criteria

Room set-up

The room will be set-up with tables seating 10 people at each table.


Equipment for café sessions includes:

  • lectern and microphone
  • data projector
  • projection screen/plasma display
  • laptop
  • preview monitor (you will be able to see your slides in front of you while presenting from lectern)
  • wireless presenter (clicker)
  • handheld and/or lapel microphones
  • cordless microphone for Q&A
  • head table (no table microphones)