The Art of Hosting

Sept.'11 I received an email from Natasha Dalmia - who I never met or I never heard of before - with 'a basket of flowers that says Thank You'. This is what she wrote:

Dear Ria, Rainer,

Hi, this is my first mail to you ever -  It is a pleasure to write to you both - Greetings from Singapore.

I got your mail ids from Andries, who revisited the roots of Pro Action Cafe with us  as more of our hosts and guests are connecting with this practice and space.

Thanks to all of you, and Andries, who introduced it to us, we embarked on this journey of
Pro Action Cafe in Singapore since 2009, and it has been an amazing one.

Wish to share with you the harvest, something that I got inspired and found courage to do
when I recently attended Art of Hosting in Budapest and Thailand, 2011.
http://olifesparks.wordpress.com/2011/09/08/pro-action-cafe-singapore/

We are much grateful to you both for sharing this practice as humbly appreciated under 'The Pearls from far far away'.

Do feel free to advise us should anything emerge for you when you read the harvest. and also should you visit Singapore anytime. 

Warmly,

Natasha Dalmia
The blogpost is really, really great! It is a full harvest of a group of people, mostly AEISEC (ex-)members, who have been doing monthly Pro Action Cafés for 2 years.
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Since Rainer and I started the Pro Action Café in Brussels many years ago, the Brussels one is also still running, more or less every month. After both of us left the regular hosting, three young ladies took over: Katrin Duerkoop, Naomi Takagi and Nora Ganescu.
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Looking around on the net, it turns out that Pro Action Café is even on twitter! @ProActionCafe
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Some months ago, Jenny Werbelof, living in Melbourne called me on Skype to hear from me how she could go about starting a regular Pro Action Café in Melbourne. She connected later with Katrin in Brussels to share the experiences so far. Now it turns out they have already a website and a great logo! I noticed that both the Brussels and Melbourne café's are happening in the local Hubs!
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Some weeks ago I met three people from a town nearby, Leuven, and they want to start another Pro Action Café. Soooo curious how it will unfold! In the meantime there has been one in Gent - TransitieCafé too!
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Is there a Pro Action Café in Finland??? Yes! At the Hub in Helsinki. Here is their Facebook page.
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If you know of other Pro Action Café's that meet regularly, please make a comment below, and include a link if you have one.
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There is another conversation thread on Pro Action Café here.

Tags: Dalmia, Natasha, Pro, Singapore, action, café

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Thank You Ria, 

The Pro Action Cafe Melbourne site looks gorgeous! 

 

Greetings to everybody in various parts of the world and

the wide wonderful practice that has evolved and is evolving .. 

 

Please have a look over here - a harvest from an online Pro Action Café - in German!

Pro Action Cafe at the 'The University Project: Past & Future' on 15th October 2011 at the Hub Westminster, London for 32 participants. 

 

My process & feedback document is attached. It uses the following sources:

Attachments:

I received a message from our French friends, regarding a Pro Action Café with hundreds of students. (of course in French!)

"Dans le cadre du Défi-innovation que nous avons créé et organisé cette année avec 400 étudiants à Sophia Antipolis et 450 à Lille, nous avons proposé une session de Pro-action café.

En ce qui me concerne, à Sophia Antipolis, je l'ai organisé avec 9 coachs en charge chacun de coacher 10 équipes de 5.

 

Le plateau : les coachs étaient gardien du temps et créaient la dynamique, les étudiants étaient répartis entre un porteur de projet qui exposait l'innovation et le reste de l'équipe en généreux donateurs.

 

Il faut noter que les coachs en ce qui concernait Sophia sont des "enseignants-chercheurs". Un briefing et quelques heures de détentes plus tard nous avons répartis les coachs et leurs équipes dans l'herbe autour du campus (ce qui a suscité pas mal de créativité aussi puisque le sujet global du défi innovation était libre et durable).

3 rounds avec les 3 questions mais à la fin pas de mise en commun de comment ils avaient vécu tout ça par contre les coachs ont pris chaque équipe à part et ont fait le point avec eux sur les échanges lors du pro-action café.

 

Résultat : les "enseignants-chercheurs" étaient réellement IMPRESSIONNES de ce que cela a généré comme contenu. Les étudiants ont apprécié l'exercice, trouvant le modèle innovant par rapport à ce qu'ils avaient vu auparavant.

Une vraie très bonne expérience pour tout le monde.

 

Merci à Art of Hosting, merci Audrey pour la transmission très opérationnelle que tu nous a fait du Pro-action café.

 

L'année prochaine nous renouvelons le Défi-innovation avec d'avantage de nouveauté et d'intelligence collective.

 

Claire Leblond-SKEMA Business School"

thank you so much for sharing this in such detail Liane, really amazing!! i am sure i'll look into this again when i have an upcoming PAC...

 

Ria, where would the best place be for Liane to put this? Under Harvest Documents maybe?

Liane Fredericks said:

[...]

I try to put important documents together here (Resources -> Articles-Documents -> Core practices), but that is a 'Page' and can only be added to by us, hosts of this site.

In my view here is also a good place! (best to use the search function anyway, and things will come up!)

Dear all,
here a number of responses from first-time participants to a pro action café in Amsterdam at the HUB.
Rainer

 

Responses on our email about the value of the Pro Action Cafe (so far):

Can you describe the value of the ProAction Cafe for you(r entreprise) in one/two sentences?  

  • Pro Action Café provided me with a open and safe environment in which I could help others find the real answers to their questions. At the same time it helped me to structure my thoughts about my own enterprise more.
  • The P.A.C. offers a great opportunity to mobilize all available thoughts and knowledge, to bring forward your own personal and professional insights.
  • It helped me to come out of my deep concentration which is good but bad as I don't see many perspectives as I am too focussing on my own! So, in other words the cafe is a good wake up call from my own deep slumber!
  • A question that is still resonating in my head was somebody asking me: What would you do next with the resources you have at hand? He made me think about starting by small steps instead of pursuing the huge plan... this may sound logic but it completely made a click inside me since I was thinking about big questions in my project when I can simplify it.
  • The pro-action café is, besides very energizing and inspiring, also a valuable testing-environment for your (business) ideas.


Would you recommend the Pro Action Cafe to a fellow hub member? 

Would you join again? 

  • Yes, 4 responses
  • Yes, for two things...1) to share my question which by then will be graduated to a different one (but I would like to give space and opportunity for others, so that they get benefitted as I did last time). 2) to learn about the process better from a facilitating/hosting point of view. I could not do this well last time as I was focussing on my question and the response from others.
Frederieke
Useful insight - thanks.

A message from other French friends:

The email below was sent by a person that participated in the French Art of Hosting seminar last June (2011).
It's in French but i believe you can read and understand.
Audrey
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Hello à toute la clique Imfusio, (organisers of the training)

Après une rentrée plus que bousculée, je prends le temps de vous partager mon expérience du pro-action café.

Dans le cadre du Défi-innovation que nous avons créé et organisé cette année avec 400 étudiants à Sophia Antipolis et 450 à Lille, nous avons proposé une session de Pro-action café.

En ce qui me concerne, à Sophia Antipolis, je l'ai organisé avec 9 coachs en charge chacun de coacher 10 équipes de 5.

Le plateau: les coachs étaient gardien du temps et créaient la dynamique, les étudiants étaient répartis entre un porteur de projet qui exposait l'innovation et le reste de l'équipe en généreux donateurs.

Il faut noter que les coachs en ce qui concernait Sophia sont des "enseignants-chercheurs" old school, a priori très réticents à l'intégration d'un pro-action café. Un briefing et quelques heures de détentes plus tard nous avons répartis les coachs et leurs équipes dans l'herbe autour du campus (ce qui a suscité pas mal de créativité aussi puisque le sujet global du défi innovation était libre et durable).

3 rounds avec les 3 questions mais à la fin pas de mise en commun de comment ils avaient vécu tout ça par contre les coachs ont pris chaque équipe à part et ont fait le point avec eux sur les échanges lors du pro-action café.

Résultat: les "enseignants-chercheurs", dont le chef toute catégorie à qui "on ne la fait pas", étaient réellement IMPRESSIONNES de ce que cela a généré comme contenu. Les étudiants ont apprécié l'exercice, trouvant le modèle innovant par rapport à ce qu'ils avaient vu auparavant.

Par contre le bémol: les équipes à la base étaient en concurrence dans chaque pool de coach, du coup les bonnes idées des uns ont été reprises par les autres.

Mais une vraie très bonne expérience pour tout le monde.

Merci à Art of Hosting, merci Audrey pour la transmission très opérationnelle que tu nous a fait du Pro-action café.

L'année prochaine nous renouvelons le Défi-innovation avec d'avantage de nouveauté et d'intelligence collective.

Je souhaite aussi vivement vous remercier d'avoir accueilli Sophia et Linda dans vos murs début juillet. Elles ont apprécié d'être parmi vous et de s'imprégner de votre façon de travailler.

A très bientôt ,

Claire LEBLOND

This is a recent message from Natasha, from Signapore:

"This year, 2012, we have not hosted a cafe due to multiple reasons and the current physically present hosts (Meenakshi and myself - our other friend-hosts are in various parts of the world currently) would like to take a sabbatical. We are hosting one 'last' cafe coming May (2012)  at the yet - to - be - officially - launched HUB in Singapore and are open to what might emerge as a practice further and what shape Pro Action Cafe might take, going forward with newer hosts and integration of communities."

and she continued with some good news for the online resources:

"Meenakshi and I would like to contribute our community's contributions of a humble SGD 150 for the website (www.artofhosting.org)
The mail below (asking for some contribution) stayed in my memory and finally I am glad I get the opportunity to write this mail to you. I am ever so grateful for the site that has allowed me to explore the many methodologies on Participatory Leadership, and has enabled my learning and awareness so much so that I experienced AoH, became a caller for one in Singapore, where Meenakshi participated, and now am considering it for my Ph.D topic.

THANK YOU to each one of you. 

Warmly,
Natasha and Meenakshi

We have a regular Pro action Café every two months in the Bregenzer Salon. Topics are brought in by the participants, advertising is open.

We develop something like "Salon Hosting", which means to go relaxed all the way, including food in the breaks, to make it a great night out. 

The next one coming up is Saturday night, 19.5.

It is also a great way for some to get to know an idea of Art of Hosting, before they enroll into the trainings, or once they have done a training, people are happy to see how Pro action Café is applied in a different setting. Many appreciate it for its peer-to-peer consulting effect, and benefit for the advice, and others are happy to experience a more intentional setting with the deep listening qualities.

After the welcome and check-in I present the four levels of Listening according to Otto Scharmer, and then invite us all to spend as much time as possible in listening mode 3 and 4. This sets the scene quite nicely.

Pro Action Café im Bregenzer Salon

Attachments:

Another Pro Action Café story, shared Oct.'12:

Hi guys

A number of you have asked for some insights into my recent facilitation of a Pro Action Café for 130 people an other AoH methodology used during the day, so here goes.

The venue was Royal on the Park in Brisbane and their crew was awesome in assisting with logistics of seating and technology.  The first half of the day was in circle and points to note:

  • This worked very well for our Indigenous Welcome To Country
  • An invited speaker was a Commonwealth Government Representative and, although Indigenous, found this a little intimidating at first but also got comfortable fairly quickly (I can see you all smiling at this picture)
  • This was a very new concept for most participants and took them out of their comfort zones from the start which is what I wanted to achieve
  • I explained the four-fold practice and law of two feet, which people were impressed with
  • Feedback from some participants from last year suggested that the circle restricted introduction to new people and I would manage this a little differently next time by having assigned seating to ensure that people were not seated in their ‘specific’ groups.  I believe this only suitable for this context, not all circles.
  • I played 3 videos and the screen location meant that very few had to adjust their seating very much.

 

The Pro-Action café was in the afternoon and points to note include:

  • I was able to share the ‘lead up’ tasks with a hosting team which was awesome.  It was good to understand that there ‘is’ a diverse range of skills in small groups even when you do not expect them.  (People with artistic and performing skills are necessary.)
  • Ensure that your instructions to the hosting team are very clear.  On the ‘calling’ we had identified the potential of 27 callers, however one of the team forgot to put some cards on the ground.  As I was focussed on the explanation I didn’t realise it and it was picked up after everyone went to lunch.  They then decided to tap people on the shoulder to fulfil this task.
  • Written feedback from participants indicated my initial instructions about Pro-Action café was not sufficient however by the end of the day they all ‘got it’ and were very happy with the results.  This is something to be very aware of, although I find it very hard to explain this methodology.  So maybe the strategy of just letting it proceed under the “right people; right time; right place’ philosophy has its benefits, rather than feeling we have the need to explain it first.  (Sorry I am probably thinking out loud too.)
  • Written and verbal feedback also indicated they enjoyed the movement of people and the diversity of voices.

 

This really proved to me that the methodology can work in any context and the day just evolves. 

Thanks again for your assistance and inspiration.  Please note I am also thinking of our colleagues at the Workforce Council and hope you are all ok in these very trying days ahead.

Colin

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Very useful reflection from Colin. 
Here is a post I wrote a while ago on 7 practice for giving instructions. 
 
That is a very sensitive time in a process and giving instructions is very important. May that post be of use. 

-- 
CHRIS CORRIGAN

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