Blog Post

Randomised Coffee Trial Variations

Posted to Gurteen Knowledge-Log by David Gurteen on 21 August 2014



Randomised Coffee Trial Variations
WeblogGurteen Knowledge Log
Knowledge LetterAppears in the Gurteen Knowledge Letter issue: 170
Posted DateThursday 21 August 2014 18:23 GDT
Posted ByDavid Gurteen
Linkshttp://www.gurteen.com/gurteen/gurteen.nsf/id/randomised-cof ... 

I had an interesting meeting with the KM Team at Airbus CIMPA in Bristol recently.

At one point, we talked about RCTs (Randomized Coffee Trials. CIMPA knew the concept and liked the principles of it but raised the concern that in the business environments they are used to dealing with there would be a need for tangible business outcomes from an RCT.

In further conversation, an interesting variation of the RCT concept emerged.
  • take a group of people

  • take a small collection of business problems/challenges/issues

  • randomly match two people with a random business issue

  • ask them to meet over coffee and discuss the selected issue (no reason why they cannot discuss other things too)

  • at the end of the session, each person writes up a short summary of their conversation and any ideas that emerged - these are posted and shared centrally in someway
a further variation on this idea:
  • take one big issue and over a period of say a month, run RCTs where all the pairs discuss the same issue

  • at the end of the month bring them ALL together in a Knowledge Cafe style gathering to discuss the issue further and draw some conclusions

This could be a powerful innovative process.

I think the real beauty and success of the RCTs is in the organic flow of the conversation. Focusing on tangible business outcomes although worthy and useful is maybe a little bit too organised and just a short step away from being another form of business workshop. I therefore wonder, can this variation still be considered an RCT?

What do you think and have you experimented a similar form of RCT?

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
David Gurteen

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