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Home » Methods » World Café

World Café

Different institutional structures, logics and norms
1 project manager & min. 15 project partners or citizens
easy - medium
min. 2 hours
  • Digital whiteboard: Miro or Mural
  • Video conferencing: Zoom, Microsoft Teams etc.
Best Practices

Explanation of the method

  1. Prepare digital whiteboards for each group. You can use the template linked down below.
  2. Assign participants to small groups (3-5 people) and put them together in a breakout room (e.g., in Zoom). Each breakout room can discuss a different theme, e.g., health, education, mobility.
  3. In the small groups, the participants discuss the corresponding topic along a predefined question (+/- 20 minutes). The main points of the discussion should be recorded directly in writing or graphically on the digital whiteboard. There are several rounds of discussion, usually according to the number of different questions, e.g.: What are the problems? What ideas are in the room? Which stakeholders are involved?
  4. After each round, participants move to any other breakout room. A previously selected participant remains in the original breakout room as "host" to briefly summarize the previous discussions to the new participants.
  5. In the second round of discussion, the recorded points of the previous discussion should be used to link them to the new round of discussion. There is also the possibility to collect completely new ideas. This process is repeated until each participant has visited all breakout rooms or the last question for discussion has been asked.
  6. After the last round, the results and findings are presented to all participants by the hosts of the breakout rooms, who are the only ones who have followed all the discussions on the respective topic.


  • The method literally brings all participants "to the table" and different points of view "on the table".
  • The World Café is an efficient tool that can be carried out with few preparation and financial resources.
  • The interlocutors get to know each other and each other's institutional backgrounds better.
  • The participation of different stakeholders increases the acceptance of the solution approaches.


  • Focusing exclusively on the positive can hide flaws, waeknesses, risks
  • Reserved people might reject it

Advice from practice

  • Use a "silent observer" who records the conversations in the discussion rounds; this ensures that no aspects are neglected.
  • A good moderator who keeps an eye on the time frame, involves everyone, and summarizes the results of the preliminary rounds well is important.
  • Make sure that I-messages are used so that the participants can also identify with the problem: instead of "There is the problem that ..." use rather "I see the problem that ...".
  • Divide the digital whiteboard template into different sections, each of which can be used to record the suggestions for a particular issue, or use different colors to better cluster the issues, e.g., red = problems/obstacles, green = solution approach, blue = stakeholders involved.
  • Create a different theme for each breakout room, e.g., mobility, health, associations, etc.
Please note that the tools and methods were created as of August 2024 and all Miro Boards are editable.
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