Botho Sparks Dialogue with Entrepreneurship World Café

On the 6th of May 2015 the Department of Students & Alumni Affairs hosted the first ever Botho University Entrepreneurship World Café.

The World Café is a user-friendly method for creating meaningful and cooperative dialogue around questions that count. As an organisational or social design process the World Café offers a practical way to enhance the human capacity for collaborative thought. Born out of the worldwide interest in dialogue methodologies, World Café is a system readily applicable to organisations and communities that catalyses dynamic conversations and opens new possibilities for action.

Entrepreneurship was the topic chosen to be tackled using this method due to the high rate of unemployment within Botswana and the identification of entrepreneurship as one of the best ways to find a solution to this problem. Social Entrepreneurship was the focal point of discussion as it is a relatively new trend that people in Botswana are not quite familiar with. The purpose of this discussion was not only to raise awareness and provoke thought but also to gather those thoughts with the intention of using them in the process of establishing the Entrepreneurship Laboratory which will accelerate and foster the entrepreneurship experience outside of the classroom and in the community.

The event, which was attended by both students and staff members, was facilitated by Professor Gia Interlandi, a Leadership Consultant who introduced the concept. Gia Interlandi teaches and consults on the principles of leadership, strategic planning and meeting facilitation. In addition to executives in the United States of America and Europe, she has worked with fire-fighters and police officers in Chicago and undergraduates at Northwestern University. Professor Interlandi has facilitated strategic planning meetings and consulted to a variety of organisations including international corporations such as McDonald's, not-for-profits, high-tech companies, the City of Chicago and the U.S. Department of State.

In a World Café dialogue, small, intimate conversations link and build on each other as people move between groups, cross-pollinate ideas and make new connections around questions that really matter to their life, work or community.

As this living network of conversations evolves through several rounds of exploration, knowledge-sharing grows, a sense of the whole becomes more visible and innovative possibilities evolve. Due to its unique structure, Café learning enables large groups, often of hundreds of people, to think together creatively as part of a single, connected conversation. One simple realisation has catalysed the growing success of the World Café: the way human beings talk with one another and engage in conversations often leads neither to a better understanding nor to improved cooperation.

Staff members of the Students & Alumni Affairs Department were happy with the staging of the World Café event as thoughts were provoked and lively discussions were sparked. A lot was taken away from the discussions and the department plans to tackle more issues using this method going forward.