Community Conversations PPT

World Café - organizational
change tool
The World Cafe is a
natural & effective way
to host meaningful
conversations that
awaken collective
wisdom & engage
collaborative action.
Launching Inclusive
Efforts Through
Community Conversations
Erik Carter Ph.D.
Vanderbilt Kennedy Center
The Work of Erik Carter
Peer Mediated Instruction
High School Transition/Post School
Increasing the capacity and commitment of
communities to meaningfully include children
and adults with significant disabilities, as well
as engaging new partners in these efforts. Here,
he has focused his work on interventions that
engage new partners (e.g., employers, parents,
community leaders, congregations) in
community change efforts.
= Community Conversations in
• The LINK Program
• Parents Raising Taxpayers
• Building Your Future
Crafting a new view
• “ Instead of pouring knowledge into people's
heads, we need to help them grind a new set of
glasses, so they can see the world in a new way.
That involves challenging the implicit
assumptions that have shaped the way people
have historically looked at things..”
˜ John Seeley Brown
Not an out of the
box thinker
It is hard to listen when
you don’t have a sense of
understanding the issue
Community Conversation:
What’s It All About?
…it is a way to bring a diverse set of
community members together to
collectively brainstorm strategies and
resources that can be used to address a
challenge facing the
Talking Heads
There is no power for
change greater than a
community discovering
what it cares about.
Margaret Wheatley; writer and management consultant who studies
organizational behavior
Core Principles:
1. All communities possess unique opportunities, connections, resources
and relationships
2. Members within each community are the experts on the challenges that
are most pressing, the solutions, strategies that will work best, and the
most effective ways to enlist others in support of change
3. Any group of community members who come together no matter how
well connected an individual is – will learn of new resources, ideas by
interacting with others who share different view points and life
4. Real change that lasts is most likely to come when ideas are based on
locally-feasible strategies and approaches
Hosting a Community Conversation?
It’s as Easy as …
1. Invite a diverse group of people
2. Choose a few questions to guide
the conversation
3. Jot down ideas as they emerge
3-4 months before
Organize your planning team
2 months
Find your venue, choose date and time of event
Decide on food, decorating, choose questions
6 weeks
Invite participants – personal invitations, e-invites, flyers, news
release, poster, phone contacts, social media announcements
2-4 weeks
Gather all needed materials, decorations, placemats, markers, pens,
nametags, etc.
1 week
Visit and the venue for final check. Make sure any technology you
plan to use functions and the planned layout will work in the space
The event
Give yourself plenty of time to arrive, set up, and problem solve any
glitches that may occur
1-7 days after
Follow up with participants through e-mail, thanking them for
attending, and sharing information gathered during the harvest and
from table host notes.
2 weeks
Follow up with any participant who offered to assist with specific
ideas of initiative
Where do we hold the meeting?
Community Centers/public
rooms at the library/ coffee shops
with a meeting room
Choosing Questions…
Simple and clear
Thought provoking
Generate energy
Surface unconscious assumptions
Focus inquiry
Open new possibilities
Questions function as openhanded invitations to creativity,
calling forth that which doesn’t
yet exist.
Marilee Goldberg
The Conversation
Encourage creative communication
• Share thinking and experience
• Encourage diverse ideas and perspectives
• Listen to understand
• Expect disagreement
• Connect ideas
• Listen together for patterns, insights and deeper questions
Café Etiquette
Focus on what matters
Contribute your thinking
Speak your mind and heart
Listen to understand
Link and Connect ideas
Listen together for insights and
deeper questions
Play, Doodle, Draw writing on
placemats & tablecloths is
Have FUN!!
After the Conversation
Although hosting the initial
Community Conversation is
significant it is really just a spring
board to gain long term community
Launching Inclusive Efforts Through Community
• A Memphis Community Conversation