Supporting serendipity – Randomised Coffee Trials

Do you ever feel that there are far too many people in your organisation that you would like to talk to, but never get the chance?

Do you also feel that is too awkward/bothersome/intrusive to ask point blank for a meeting, and then deal with the hassle of agreeing a mutually convenient time?

Do you like going for ‘coffee’ or generally meeting people and catching up?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions above then you will like the following idea, and might even want to try it.

A wonderful new initiative inspired by work at NESTA called ‘Randomised Coffee Trials’  (RCT)which basically work as follows: you commit to meeting another member of staff for coffee and you are randomly assigned somebody to have coffee with from among those who make the commitment. You are not obliged to talk about anything in particular. That’s it.

So why do this?

According to NESTA the benefits include the following:

  • Provides legitimacy to chat to people about things that aren’t directly work related. Although every time there have been direct beneficial impacts on various projects and programmes.
  • Totally random conversations, as well as some very useful work related conversations. Breaks silos … in a really effective way.
  • Offers the chance to make time to talk to people they should be talking to anyway, and to meet people who they won’t be directly working with but it’s nice to know who they are!
  • It’s a really good way of revealing links within the organisation and encouraging us to collaborate. It’s interesting that being part of the wider ‘RCT’ banners gives permission to spend and honour the time. Less likely to cancel a catch up if it’s an RCT coffee than a social catch up on a busy day.
  • They like the prompt to talk to someone new (or someone they already know), and the permission to take 30 minutes just to see what’s going on, without any particular agenda or goal.

We are offering people the chance to try randomised coffee trials as part of the 100 days of change. Sign up for a Randomised Coffee trial here.


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