The Gurteen Knowledge Café: A conversation with David Gurteen



Anna McAvoy 

First Published

December 2002


David Gurteen


Conversation; Dialogue; Knowledge Cafe

Anna McAvoy
"In a rapidly changing world how do we make the right decisions, set the right objectives, and how do we best organize ourselves to achieve them?"

This is the question, which prompted David Gurteen to establish the Gurteen Knowledge Café - a meeting point for those with both an interest in the expanding world of KM; and a recognition that different ways of working and thinking are now required by both individuals, and businesses, to better cope with, and harness the opportunities presented by the new economy.

One of the most effective "real-time" mediums of communication is conversation. In the "meeting of minds with different memories and habits" (Theodore Zeldin) fresh perspectives, and new ideas, are sparked: this is about knowledge creation. And as David continues, "with increased observation and reflection comes understanding and only with understanding comes change".

For those attending the Knowledge Café, the best benefit is a basic life skill: the ability to engage in quality conversation – open, communicative, and reflective. Quality conversation is increasingly recognized as a vital medium in business; and of course, in all the other aspects of our lives. It is in fact one of the best learning tools we have.

Our world is complex, and undergoing some fundamental changes. Whether we look to the changing nature of the internet-dominated, networked, global economy evolving from the earlier industrial model: From capital to virtual. To the impact of technology on the way we do business; work and live, it is far reaching – the days of computing power "on tap" like a utility is dawning, and business users now seek to drive the technically translated business processes negating the dominance of the IT department. Technology itself has created a "demanding" world and change will only flow faster as a result.

Both from the perspective of the individual seeking to find work, and personal fulfilment, to business seeking competitive advantage there is much with which to come to terms. We all need the ability to see the greater picture, and through conversing, and collaborating, as individuals, we are better able to place our own "piece of the jigsaw" as David describes it, into a fuller, and more valuable picture of the world around us. Into better knowledge, and ourselves, as a result, into better "knowledge workers".

Video: Knowledge Cafe at KMAP 2006

Gurteen Knowledge Cafe at KMAP 2006 in Hong Kong, December 2006, facilitated by David Gurteen and Raksha Sukhia. Courtesy of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University Knowledge Management Research Centre.

Media Information: Image

If you are interested in Knowledge Management, the Knowledge Café or the role of conversation in organizational life then you my be interested in this online book I am writing on Conversational Leadership
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