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The Pro Action Café is a space for creative and action-oriented conversation where participants are invited to bring their call/ projects/ ideas/ questions or whatever they feel called by and need help to manifest in the world. 

 As a conversational process, Pro Action Café is a collective, innovative methodology for hosting conversations about calls, questions and projects that matter to the people that attend. These conversations link and build on each other as people move between café tables, cross pollinate ideas, and offer each other new insights into the questions or issues that are most important in their life, work, organization, or community. 

As a process, the Pro Action Café can evoke and make visible the collective intelligence of any group, thus increasing people’s capacity for effective action in pursuit of good work. Pro Action Café can be used with a network of people and/ or as a methodology for a group, organization, or community to engage in creative and inspirational conversation leading to wiser and more collectively informed action. 

The concept of Pro Action Café is a blend of ‘World Café’ and ‘Open Space’. It was first conceived by Rainer von Leoprechting and Ria Baek in Brussels, Belgium. 



  • Identify the purpose statement of the gathering with the hosting team. 
  • Determine the number of participants attending and divide by four to determine the number of callers that can be convened, and the number of café tables needed. 
  • Set up one large circle (chairs) and the café tables (tables, chairs, tablecloths, harvest posters, markers, sticky notes) 
  • Create a matrix for the agenda (I.e. whiteboard, poster, large sticky notes, etc.) 

For Activity 

  1. Introduce the purpose of the gathering so that participants can either ask a question and get help from others or to get their own question developed by helping others. 
  2. Begin in a check-in circle to connect to the session’s purpose and to each other. If check-in has already taken place as part of a longer process, go straight to inviting callers. 
  3. Invite participants to step forward, describe their call/ project, and write it on the agenda that corresponds with a numbered café table. 
  4. Once the agenda is filled, invite callers to go to their numbered café tables. 
  5. Contributing participants (those who do not step forward with a call/ project) go to the different café tables to support three 20–30-minute rounds of thinking and discussion around the different calls/ projects:

    Round 1: What is the quest behind the call/ question/ project?

    The intention is to deepen the need and purpose of the call. 

    Round 2: What is missing? 

    When the intention behind the quest has been deepened, explore what could make the project more complete and possible. 

    Round 3: What are the essential next steps? 

    The intention is to help bring it all together for the caller and his/ her/ their project. 

    *During the final round, three new contributors visit a table to listen to the harvest of the caller, their learning, their steps, and offer any insight/ support they can.

  6. Return to circle and ask callers to answer two questions: What am I grateful for? What are my next steps?
  7. Ask the whole group to reflect on: What applications do we see for practicing Pro Action Café in our contexts?
  8. Close with a collective gesture of appreciation for the work done and the gifts offered and received. 


  • 2 ½ – 3 hours are recommended for this activity. 
  • No more than five people per table. 


  • (2023). Leading Courageously in Higher Education: The Art of Hosting and Harvesting Conversations that Matter. Seattle, Washington. Daniel J. Evans School of Public Policy & Governance.


Downloads & Links

About Pro Action Café
The University Project: Pro Action Café
Pro Action Café Questions
Art of Hosting: Pro Action Café