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Busi­ness is a Con­ver­sa­tion: An In­tro­duc­tion to the Gur­teen Knowl­edge Café David Gur­teen in­tro­duces a tool called knowl­edge café that can be used to share tacit knowl­edge and how this can be ap­plied to teams, com­mu­ni­ties or in si­los to ques­tion en­trenched as­sump­tions, help fa­cil­i­tate learn­ing and to gain a deeper un­der­stand­ing of a sub­ject through con­ver­sa­tion.

The role of the knowl­edge café

Knowl­edge shar­ing is a key is­sue for knowl­edge man­age­ment and for or­gan­i­sa­tional suc­cess. But real knowl­edge shar­ing re­quires an open mind­set. In ad­di­tion, it con­tin­ues to be a chal­lenge for many or­gan­i­sa­tions, where it can be dif­fi­cult to even get peo­ple to talk openly to one an­other about their spe­cific in­ter­ests and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties. One way of en­er­gis­ing an or­gan­i­sa­tion to take real ad­van­tage of con­ver­sa­tion and con­se­quent tan­gi­ble busi­ness benefits is the use of knowl­edge cafés. A knowl­edge café is an ef­fec­tive ve­hi­cle for open­ing up con­ver­sa­tions and dis­cus­sions that lead to a deeper un­der­stand­ing of the busi­ness world, which in turn leads to im­proved de­ci­sion mak­ing, new ways of work­ing and in­no­va­tion. A knowl­edge café is a tool that is used to share tacit knowl­edge. It can be used within teams, com­mu­ni­ties of prac­tice or across si­los to ques­tion en­trenched as­sump­tions, to help fa­cil­i­tate learn­ing from oth­ers and to gain a deeper col­lec­tive un­der­stand­ing of a sub­ject through con­ver­sa­tion. It is not just about talk­ing and net­work­ing, although these are se­condary benefits. It’s also about al­low­ing peo­ple to en­gage each other in "di­a­logue" with the aim of learn­ing from each other, rather than en­ter­ing into un­pro­duc­tive de­bate and at­tempt­ing to im­pose their views on each other. Those sit­u­a­tions in­vari­ably end in fail­ure and frus­tra­tion.

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