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The latest issue of ICMA's Public Management publication (ICMA is the International City/County Management Association, for those unaware of it) includes a report on The World Cafe - - which offers communities around the world a means to engage in roundtable and honest discussions to literally "map a conversation" to achieve results.

My interpretation is of a wiki-like civic engagement but in the flesh.

The article was about Reading, Massachusetts' use of it (located about 30 minutes from me) and the website indicates hundreds of communities around the world using it.

Do you have any personal knowledge/satisfaction from this program? Ideas?

Tags: World Cafe, civic engagement

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Hadn't heard of it - looks very interesting, and thanks for pointing it out!
I have participated in its use and used it -- I think it is a great addition to anyone's tool box of methods to engage large groups of people in more small group sessions where ideas can be explored in greater detail. It allows you to build on prior conversations at the table -- thus engaging a number of people in what is a series of small group discussions. These tools are almost always preferrable to the typical "public hearing" where a person is given 3 minutes to point out problems and advance a single solution to a body of elected officials who have almost always already made up their minds.


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