The first time I participated in a World Cafe was last year's Gathering of Leaders sponsored by the Jefferson Center and held at Columbus State. The keynote speaker at that conference was Margaret Wheatley, who was quoted in one of the sessions I attended on Thursday. Her book - Leadership and the New Science - talks about how we have traditionally viewed organizations as functioning like mechanical systems - and so what is required is control and efficiency. Her research indicates that organizations function the same way that living organisms/systems. What is required for living systems to be healthy and function well is diversity and organic growth - which requires very different skills on the part of leaders than a mechanistic organization.
The second Gathering of Leaders conference is scheduled for Nov. 19 at Columbus State. Peter Block will be keynote speaker. His book - Stewardship - provides a unique approach to empowerment. If you have any conference funds left, you may want to attend this conference. Attendees are from many central Ohio non-profits, social service and educational organizations. See www.thejeffersoncenter.org