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Benefits of a Café of Ideas Event

At Café of Ideas, we create the conditions in which the people from your organisation or community tend to consciously think more and therefore to naturally generate new ways of thinking and doing. The secondary benefits of this are not entirely predictable, but tend to include:

  1. Re-vitalised energy and enthusiasm.
  2. Creative new ideas to address current issues.
  3. Stronger, more comfortable relationships and therefore more effective teamworking.
  4. A lessening of "stuck" positions and stand-offs leading to more effective action.
  5. A lessening of the tendency to negatively label "the others", leading to less conflict and greater cohesion.
  6. People acting with more initiative.
  7. People taking greater responsibility.
  8. For corporations: A feather in your Corporate Social Responsibility hat - not only are you doing something to impact the wellbeing of your employees, but you're supporting us in putting on subsidised events for disadvantaged community groups that couldn't otherwise afford it.
  9. Everyone having a great time!


Our Methodology

A Café of Ideas event doesn't focus directly on the issues it addresses, for the simple reason that this doesn't work. It would be like putting a group of people together in a room and commanding them to "Have fun, now!"

If a person tries to get to sleep, he finds it harder to sleep. If he tries not to feel nervous, he feels more nervous. If someone attempts to persuade him of her opinion (let alone force it upon him), he digs in.

Therefore, Café of Ideas works obliquely. We create the kind of space in which people naturally become more open - an atmosphere that's comfortable, safe, entertaining, truthful, positive and highly stimulating.

We've taken some influence from the Solutions Focus methodology and our founder was trained by these people.

Why It Works

There is a directly inverse relationship between the levels of stress a person experiences and her ability to consciously think effectively. If a person feels stressed, fearful, in a state of "fight or flight", then the conscious thinking area of the brain shuts down in favour of older, more automatic processes. If you want someone to perform rote tasks more efficiently, then shouting at her can work (however morally questionable this may be), but if you want her to think creatively, think for herself, solve interesting problems, take responsibility, act with initiative and generate forward momentum, then shouting at her most definitely doesn't work. Café of Ideas helps create the conditions in which she can flourish.

The Background Science

There is a sound neurological basis to this. The truth is, human beings would really rather not have to think. The part of the brain that we use to consciously process, to truly pay attention to something, is a fairly recent evolutionary addition to our make-up. It's called the Prefrontal Cortext. It's very small and surprisingly limited. True thinking is uncomfortable and takes a lot of energy. It hurts a bit! Just like physical exercise, it consumes large amounts of glucose. On the other hand, the part of the brain that handles unconscious, automatic processing is much older, larger and more efficient. If the amount of information we could hold in our Prefrontal Cortext was the size of one square foot, then the amount of information we could hold in the rest of our brain would be the size of the Milky Way!

So, in general, we'd much rather operate as we've always done than have to learn new ways of thinking and doing.

Yet as you know, in order for your organisation or community to move forward, new ways of thinking and doing are just what's required.

There's some more relevant background information in our manifestro...

If you're interested in commissioning a Café of Ideas event, please call Pete Francomb on 07717 826274 or fill in our enquiry form and select "I'm interested in commissioning a Café of Ideas for my company/organisation" from the "Nature of enquiry" drop-down.

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