Sugar rush at the Knowledge Café
How conversation is bringing KM back to the people
David Gurteen’s Knowledge Café, hosted by chocolate manufacturer Cadbury at its headquarters in Bournville, England, brought together people to discuss the role of conversation in business.
By Joanna GoodmanWhat brought me to the UK’s mostfamous chocolate manufacturer?
I have been experimenting
with microblogging on Twitter.My growing list of connections is broadening my reading on IT andKM, I am inspired by the quotationtweets and I’ve also discovered acouple of good restaurants.
Recently, I decided to explore
further. Anyone interested intechnology will be aware of thewebinars, seminars, white papersand other resources promotingsocial networking as a way of boosting your business – and yourknowledge base.
So it’s interesting – and a little
ironic – that I discovered on Twittera KM event designed to promoteface-to-face communication, bothin its own format and in its subjectmatter.David Gurteen was organizinga Knowledge Café to discuss:
Whatis the business role of conversation andhow do we encourage more productiveconversations within our organization?
He used Twitter to invitepeople to participate in face-to-faceconversations about conversation.The tweets in advance of theevent promised a lively debate astweeters bandied jokes aroundthe names of popular Cadburychocolate bars “Will we have toWispa?” asked one. “Will thepresenter give us a Twirl?” quippedanother.Nearly 50people met atthe Cadburyheadquarters,which
into a global brand withVictorian buildingssurrounded by a huge hi-tech campus.You canimmediatelysee why itinspired the Roald Dahl novel
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
.After a short networkingsession, where samples of Cadburychocolate lifted the mood, we sat
down at tables of six for a brief
introduction to the KnowledgeCafé.
What is a Knowledge Café?
According to David Gurteen,“A Knowledge Café is designedto engage people with a subjector theme. We start with a shorttalk and focus on one or two openended questions.Participants break into groupsto discuss the theme and questionsand then reconvene into one large
group for a ﬁnal discussion. The
Café is not about making decisions, but about gaining a better mutualunderstanding of a topic or issue.”The idea is to replicatethe atmosphere of casual, butproductive discussions betweenfriends and acquaintances in a caféor around someone’s kitchen table.It’s about using informalengagement to promote empathyand understanding, thereby building productive (working)relationships and avoiding andaddressing (potential or actual)problems.
Cadbury KM: usingscience and technologyto create magic
Louise Tirre, from Cadbury’sglobal knowledge managementtechnology and engagement team,
explained how Cadbury uses
science and technology to createmagic.Louise travels around theworld supporting Cadbury’scommunities of practice, whichamong other things, discover tastesand preferences of consumersin different regions and use thisinformation to develop brands of chocolate, candy and gum.