First Event reflections -

The Forum and our experience at the first “World Cafe” formatted workshop

I will take my first blog post here to tell how myself got involved, why we created this forum, and how we are trying to make it a space where everyone cares, contributes through their participation

I met Giles at the Hong Kong Sustainability Jam organized by some young HK enthusiasts for social business (It's an annual global event which I personally highly recommend if you care about a less unsustainable world and want to work out an idea in a team. The HK organizers are pretty strong at Design Thinking and know how to lead you through a fun process). There we started sharing about organization culture, systems thinking and I told him about Art of Hosting - as a set of social tools to bring about participatory leadership. Then Giles introduced me to Virginia who's been organizing various coffee related gatherings at which she would love to see everybody be more deeply involved than just coming to learn a bit about coffee. They joined the first Art of Hosting taster workshop in HK that I organized with some friends last December. Loved the method of World Cafe and think we could use it to creat a forum where stakeholders (farmers, dealers, roasters, cafe owners, corporations, consumers... everybody that has a role to play in shaping the industry get together, have authentic conversations, to solve the problems the industry is facing. Hard we know. But beautiful to work for. This will take some time to realize. We will start from engaging with those who give a damn through regular events (monthly we are aiming) to talk about various issues related to coffee and sustainability. We had our #1 workshop in January 2013, arranged in the World Cafe format around the question - What issues do we need to consider to know how ethical a coffee product is ? A short talk by Danniel J. Groshong (founder of the Hummingfish Foundation) is inserted after the 2nd round of discussion to inspire more ideas. There are a list of issues we want to improve on, e.g. giving people more time to respond to Daniel's talk before forcing them back to the last round of discussion; making sure there's a working host at each table; ensuring people get to express in the language they are comfortable with; etc.. We hope most participants experienced it the way we want it to be - a chance to exchange ideas with a diverse crowd, contribute by giving their opinions, and feel they are part of a whole shaping the results of conversations through their participation.

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