World Café

World café is a method which is based on the "everyone meets everyone" dynamics. You can use it in order to get to know users’ attitudes or for involving them in the improvement of your services. The result you get is not only a problem overview, but also a large number of proposals for its solution.

You will need

pen, paper, large sheets of paper or paper table cloths, markers, stopwatch


2 hours


12 or more (up to several hundreds) users


3 - coordination of a large number of participants

Use when...

  • asking about certain product or service, when you want to get as many opinions and as much feedback as possible
  • you need to generate a large number of ideas or possible solutions to a problem
  • you want to harmonize the positions of different parties involved in the problem

Do not use when...

  • you need a group to explore the problem more in-depth (use Focus Groups instead)
  • you have less than 12 participants


  1. Prepare general questions and choose an informal venue for a meeting.  You can also prepare some small snacks. It is important for your participants to feel naturally when discussing.
  2. Invite users from different interest groups and let them deal with the questions you prepared.
  3. One table should sit 3-4 participants and a discussion facilitator, whose task is also to write down the discussion.
  4. The participants change their table every 20 minutes. You can let them deal with the same question or shift its meaning in a natural way. It is possible to handle 3-4 successive discussions.
  5. Designs and sketches of new ideas might arise in course of world café.
  6. Share the results of world café’s discussion with all participants.

Keep in mind that...

  • each table has to sit a writer who may also join the discussion
  • should there be a larger number of world café participants, it is worth having several coordinators who are to check time and ensure that the participants change the tables

Find out more

In the exploring phase, you can use the following methods…

Desk Research

When you need to quickly obtain valuable information

When you need to collect a lot of opinions in a short time

When you need a quick feedback

Download the book Service Design in Libraries

It includes detailed descriptions of case studies from both the Czech Republic and Norway.

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