In the World Café method, participants come together for an in-depth discussion. The method ensures that the participants get to know one another quickly and can exchange views without any inhibitions.
In small groups which are moved around regularly, they develop a lot of ideas, learn from one another, combine their knowledge and experience, draw conclusions and make plans for action. In the World Café, it is assumed that the participants already possess certain specific knowledge and the creative networking process leads to some unusual and concrete results. Through the targeted rotation of the groups, participants are repeatedly able to take new, creative thoughts and ideas with them which they can then use when discussing other themes. At the end of the event, the most important and most significant results are presented in a plenary session.
The process allows new approaches to finding solutions to be developed, there is an increase in commitment and the ability to take on responsibility, and collaboration within the team is given new life.
At a Future Conference, cultural themes, values and process-related themes are addressed in order to develop a concrete and shared picture of the future. Following on from this, concrete measures and initiatives for its implementation can be developed. A powerful tool which allows a common goal that cannot be dealt with by an individual to be pursued in larger groups with a range of different interests by means of a structured procedure.
The focus is placed on commonalities so that a shared foundation can be created. A Future Conference usually starts with a look back at the past to generate a status quo and a feeling of community.
To organise a Future Conference, it is necessary to have a well-founded and tried-and-tested process for dialogue, vision and planning.
The Open Space method is implemented for a specific central theme. In a large group, a series of complex issues is addressed and worked on within a short space of time, and ideas are collected so that a set of action-focused results are arrived at.
In the Open Space, there is no fixed agenda and no set programme, and the participants are free to organise it as they wish. At the beginning, everyone participates in the design of a working plan and schedule. Each participant has the opportunity to bring up their own particular themes, questions, concerns and wishes and to present them in the plenary session. Then individual themes are decided upon and various working groups are formed for the sub-topics on the basis of individual areas of interest. Changing groups is expressly called-for, because the intention is that each participant only stays in a group for as long as they can contribute something.
The Open Space method allows participants to exchange experiences and learn from one another. Participants often arrive at unexpected and innovative solutions, approaches, methods of solving problems and concrete initiatives.
The Navigation Area can be used as a kind of warm-up and is an ideal way to start an event. The idea is to activate the participants and get them to take a position on various issues.
The principle is easy to understand. The participants choose a position anywhere in the room, and the moderator leads the session. He/she asks various questions, for which the different points of the compass in the Navigation Area represent the answers in physical terms. The participants have to move to the position that corresponds to their opinion. In the course of the dialogue, the moderator introduces opinions and positions into the group. Inhibitions are broken down and the topic being discussed gains significance.
The Navigation Area is the ideal way to introduce the theme for the event and brings the participants closer to one another.
Brainwriting is very similar to brainstorming. The difference is that the thoughts, ideas and suggestions are developed and documented in written form. As an intuitive method, brainwriting facilitates the generation of a large number of ideas in a very short space of time. The goal with this method is for participants to come up with as many high quality ideas as possible that are also as appropriate as possible with respect to a particular problem, question or theme – ideas that can be implemented at a later stage following a selection process.
A major advantage of this method is that the participants can first note down and develop all their ideas and thoughts in their own time on their own piece of paper. This prevents people from being influenced by the opinions of others and stops their thought process from being interrupted or disturbed. The anonymity of the suggestions is maintained, meaning that individuals who are above the participants in the company hierarchy do not have any influence on the process and, furthermore, it means that the ideas of those who tend to be more introverted can also be used. However, this does not mean that there needs to be complete quiet in the room while the brainwriting is going on, or that everyone has to work completely independently. As with other creative techniques, communication is an important factor in enabling participants to animate and inspire one another.