Blog Post

A conversation doesn't just shuffle the deck of cards -- it creates new ones

Posted to Gurteen Knowledge-Log by David Gurteen on 27 September 2011



A conversation doesn't just shuffle the deck of cards -- it creates new ones
WeblogGurteen Knowledge Log
Knowledge LetterAppears in the Gurteen Knowledge Letter issue: 135
Posted DateTuesday 27 September 2011 08:56 GDT
Posted ByDavid Gurteen
Linkshttp://andrewarmour.com/2011/08/26/are-you-in-the-conversati ... 
http://andrewarmour.com/2011/06/30/on-cafe-conversations-con ... 
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01460dl/New_Conversati ... 
PeopleAndrew Armour , Theodore Zeldin

One of my recent newcomers to my London Knowledge Cafes is Andrew Armour. Andrew is one of those people who immediately "got" what the Cafes are all about and has delighted me in blogging about them and expressing elements of them in ways that I have never been able to articulate.

One of his first blog posts was On Cafe Conversations which I commented on a month or so back and more recently another Are You In The Conversation Business from which I have extracted the following:
A Knowledge Cafe tries to eliminate the traditional point scoring, that is such a feature of our everyday conversations. It is a notion that is neatly expressed by the brilliant Theodore Zeldin and his famous quote; "A conversation doesn't just shuffle the deck of cards -- it creates new ones".

The 'Cafe' format has been smartly honed by Gurteen as a way to encourage the making of those new cards by stimulating dialogue rather than monologue. In addressing the above questions, the various groups shifted the conversation from how you define good and bad outcomes, to discussing (in a sign of the times) -- how you engage in a conversation with looters. The idea was to explore and share knowledge.

I ended the evening with as many new puzzling questions as answers -- and as many new insights. But isn’t that the point of a good conversation? It leads you to a different view, adds insight and helps you play with 'a new card' rather than flip over that same one again and again and again. And if you are trying to innovate, to explore, to create something fresh -- isn’t that where your next conversation should start?

Like Andrew, I love Theodore's card metaphor. And just in case you missed it - listen to Theodore's recent interview on New Conversation on the BBC's Radio 4.

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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