Drawnalism Part 1 – Knowledge Café

Cartoon showing a group of happy-looking people

This is a slightly edited version of a post which first appeared on the Drawnalism blog as A Close Encounter at the Knowledge Café.

This is the first of a series of blog posts from a personal, but changing, perspective. This post explains how I first became aware of Drawnalism, way back in 2011. Did we even have electricity then?


Cartoon man surrounded by light bulbs
Ideas everywhere, but how do we convey what we think?
Image thanks to Drawnalism Ltd

I have always been interested in the flow of information and knowledge. Why do some ideas sit inside a person’s head and go no further, whereas others catch the collective imagination and go on to influence thinking across the world?

The answer probably begins with: ‘It depends…’

It depends…

Maybe it’s a brilliant idea, but the person whose idea it is has chosen not to share it, or perhaps they feel embarrassed, or lack self-confidence, or fear ridicule.

Also, in an organisational setting, do those at the top genuinely welcome ideas from ‘the shop floor’? And, is the famous ‘staff suggestion box’ (web form etc.) really all that welcoming?

Knowledge Café

Anyway, this sort of thing interests me, and in 2011 I helped organise and host one of David Gurteen’s Knowledge Cafés at Hampshire County Council’s HQ in Winchester.

If you haven’t heard of them before, Knowledge Cafés are relaxed, informal, gently and expertly facilitated conversations.

One of best ways to make sense of an issue or challenge and ultimately make better decisions is to bring a diversity of people together for a conversation in a Knowledge Café.

David Gurteen: the Knowledge Café Concept

The broad theme this time was ‘conversation in business’, and it involved lots of people sharing their ideas, and listening to others.

The exchange of information in full flow. (Matthew is sitting on the far right of the picture).
Photo thanks to David Gurteen on Flickr

David encouraged attendees to meet and talk to as many people as they could, and to both listen and share. As a result, it was both an interesting and enjoyable experience.

None of the characters appearing here intentionally resemble any persons living or dead. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental 😉
Image thanks to Drawnalism Ltd

One of the attendees I met was Matthew, who ‘doodled’ throughout the evening in a small notebook. He showed me his sketches, which brilliantly captured some of the nuggets of conversation.

Knowledge Pub

A quick sketch from 2011
Image thanks to Drawnalism Ltd

As an aside, a friend joked that we should continue the conversation at ‘Knowledge Pub’ afterwards.

We did, and a small group of us have been meeting up around once a month for Knowledge Pub ever since.

Recap, and look ahead

The Knowledge Café format is a great way of exchanging ideas through conversation. In my next post, I will talk a bit about my first experience of working with Drawnalism.

Spoiler alert: I have used both In the Moment and Illustration services.

The last known photo of Mark Braggins wearing a tie.
Credit: David Gurteen on Flickr

By Mark Braggins

Walking, usually with my two ex-racing greyhounds. Interested in lots of stuff. Work: Business Development and Research at Drawnalism


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