Randomised coffee trials

I’m a fan of conversation to faciliate knowledge-sharing and build trusting networks. I’m also a fan of injecting a bit of serendipity into knowledge management generally.

As a result I’m a big fan of RCTs, which are … serendipitous conversations!

If you’ve not come across these before, RCTs (randomised coffee trials) began at Nesta and are a simple means to connect people randomly within organisations for short conversations.

This is how it works:

  1. Anyone interested in taking part sends their contact details to an administrator
  2. The administrator randomly pairs people up. This can be done simply by drawing names out of a hat, although there is software available which is designed for the purpose.
  3. The pairs then have their coffee and a 20-30 minute chat which is usually, but not exclusively, work-related, at a time/place that suits them. For international businesses, the conversation takes place over Skype.
  4. That’s it!

There are some pretty big organisations finding value in RCTs (Linklaters, Bank of England, BAE Systems, Red Cross Red Crescent).

Find out more and read some of the feedback from Nesta and the Red Cross Red Crescent’s RCT trial here

and more from Nesta here


If you have tried out RCTs, it’d be really interesting to know how you found them, so please do comment below.

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There is also an RCT project in my latest textbook “Practical Projects …”

About knowledge4lawyers

I am a lawyer and a Knowledge Management expert. Through The Knowledge Business I help law firms improve their efficiency and profitability through knowledge services - consultancy, training and implementation help.
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