This year’s conference will feature a Lean Coffee session, which is your chance to have a structured but informal discussion with fellow delegates about the topics you’re most interested in. This post will talk you through how these sessions will work.

How Lean Coffee works

Choose a topic and find your room

Before you can start the discussion, have a think about which topic you would most like to discuss with fellow delegates.

Our Advisory Group members will be facilitating the lean coffee sessions that will be split up by the following topics:

Facilitator Topic Room number
Oliver Emberton / Brian KellyAccessibility G1L001
Claire GibbonsTransformation, change and the future G1L002
Nicola ParryContent G1L006
Kat HusbandsCommunity building and collaboration G1L007
Rob RRUser Experience G1L009
Gemma WilksWays of working G1L010
Lauren TormeyNo set topic- anything goes! G1L011

If you’re looking for a more varied discussion or can’t decide on a topic, Lauren will be facilitating a session with no set topic. The session can cover talking points from any of the above mentioned topics or anything else.

Once you’re picked the topic you’re interested in, head to the designated room.

Think of discussion ideas

Next you’ll be given a few post-its to write down some discussion ideas around that topic.


Some example discussion ideas for each topic could be:

  • Accessibility: How we’re complying with new accessibility laws
  • Transformation, change and the future: Use of AR, VR and AI
  • Content: Student-led content
  • Community building and collaboration: How to start up communities of practice
  • User experience: Conducting guerrilla user testing
  • Ways of working: Flexible and home working

When everyone is finished writing ideas, stick your post-its to a wall in the room.

Share your ideas

The facilitator will read out all the discussion ideas. Along the way, they will ask for any clarifications, deduplicate any repeated ideas and group together similar ones.

Vote on your favourite ideas

Now it’s the group’s turn to democratically set the agenda for the discussion. 

You’ll have 3 sticky dots to vote on which ideas you want to talk about most. You can distribute your votes as you wish. Give 1 idea all 3 votes, or give multiple ideas a vote or 2 each.

The facilitator will then tally the votes.

Start discussing the most voted idea

You have 5 minutes to discuss the most voted idea. At the end of 5 minutes, the facilitator will ask the group to vote again:

  • thumbs up to continue discussing the current idea
  • thumbs down to move on to the next highest voted topic
  • thumbs to the side if you’re ambivalent

Continue discussing in 5 minute intervals

The lean coffee session continues as such until it finishes. At the end of each 5 minute period, you get to vote to determine whether you keep discussing the current idea or move on to the next one. 

What else is happening at the same time?

If you’re not keen on trying out lean coffee, there will be 3 additional workshops at the same time you can choose to attend.

Have a question?

If you have a topic you think should be addressed in a Lean Coffee room or want to know more about how it works, contact Advisory Group member Lauren Tormey.