In her foreword to this paperback, Margaret J. Wheatley notes that people are more polarized, overwhelmed, and frustrated than ever before by the increasing number of problems that are facing us. She salutes the World Café Community of inquiry and practice and its organizational and community leaders who believe that conversations matter. Wheatley concludes:

"The World Cafe process reawakens our deep species memory of two fundamental beliefs about human life. First, we humans want to talk together about things that matter to us. In fact, this is what gives satisfaction and meaning to life. Second, as we talk together, we are able to access greater wisdom that is found only in the collective."

Juanita Brown and David Issacs, two co-originators of World Café, discuss the seven core design principles of collaborative dialogue along with illustrative material from business, education, government, and community organizations around the world.

The World Café approach is held together by the following principles:

  1. "Setting the Context clarifies the purpose and broad parameters within which the dialogue will unfold.
  2. "Creating Hospitable Space ensures the welcoming environment and psychological safety that nurtures personal comfort and mutual respect.
  3. "Exploring Questions that Matter focuses collective attention on powerful questions that attract collaborative engagement.
  4. "Encouraging Everyone's Contribution enlivens the relationship between the 'me' and the 'we' by inviting full participation and mutual giving.
  5. "Cross-pollinating and Connecting Diverse Perspectives uses the living-system dynamics of emergence through intentionally increasing the diversity and density of connections among perspectives while retaining a common focus on core questions.
  6. "Listening Together for Patterns, Insights, and Deeper Questions focuses shared attention in ways that nurture coherence of thought without losing individual contributions.
  7. "Harvesting and Sharing Collective Discoveries makes collective knowledge and insight visible and actionable."

Check out their website at