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Future Fit Lean Coffee – Sharing information to Future Fit your Organisation

As someone that has engaged with our weekly emails, we would like to invite you to attend our monthly fast-paced, fun and enlightening Future Fit Lean Coffees.

Why are we Doing This?

We started 2022 by sending out weekly emails that we hope will inspire you to new thoughts, challenge you just a bit, inform you or lead you to learn more about a topic and, generally, keep you abreast of modern thinking when it comes to the confluence of Business, People and Technology needed for organisations now and into the future.

As you have engaged, one way or another, with these emails, we thought it might be a good idea to bring everyone together on some type of regular basis, to discuss some of these issues that are front-of-mind in most organisations today.

For the time being, we have decided to use the Lean Coffee format for the meeting and to hold them monthly, on the 2nd Thursday of the month between 14h00 and 15h00.  This can change as we move forward depending on what works for you.

What is a Lean Coffee?

Lean Coffees are a modern, agile way of conducting meetings.  They are “structured, agenda-less meetings that help groups understand, organise, prioritise and collaborate on a focused set of democratically selected topics.” (

What does this mean?  Lean Coffee is not just “another meeting”.  It’s a meeting that brings between 3 and 10 people together to openly discuss ideas and topics of interest to the group.

In a Lean Coffee meeting, participants gather, build an agenda, and begin discussing.  Because the participants set the agenda, the resulting conversations are specific and productive.

The Lean Coffee format is both easy to follow and effective at facilitating learning and collaboration through group discussions.

How a Lean Coffee meeting works

Lean Coffees commonly consist of 4 stages:

  • Contribution
  • Prioritisation
  • Discussion
  • Accountability & Action (that will drive towards meaningful outcomes).

What makes a Lean Coffee meeting different is that these are all time-bound.  Time limits are set for each stage of the meeting and are strictly adhered to.

Here is the process and time-limits for each step of the process.

TaskDuration Description
0 Prior to meeting – Set up a personal kanban board on Trello with four columns: To Do, Doing, Done, Actions
12 MinsSelect a theme – Our overall theme is Future Fit through Transformation, and our sub-themes are:
Psychological Safety in the Workplace
Agile HR and OD
Organisational Flexibility
Topics for discussion can be any question or point that you would like to find out more about in any of the sub-themes, or the overall theme – such as “what do we mean by Future Fit?”
25 MinsWrite topics onto cards on the Trello board: One topic per card.
No limit to the number of topics.Maximum 8 words per topic.
35 MinsSpend a few minutes introducing each topic, if necessary, sharing a sentence or two describing the idea on each card.  Where topics overlap, decide on a single topic that is inclusive, or clarify the differences.
43 MinsVote. Each participant gets three dot votes.  You may cast all your votes on one topic or spread them across multiple cards.  You may vote on your own topics.
51 MinRank the more popular topics higher in the backlog (the “To Do” column).
  The “To Do” column is now the agenda
6 Move the top item into the middle (“Doing”) column.
75 MinsDiscuss the topic
8 Decide to continue discussion using roman vote: Thumbs up – continue, Thumbs down – next topic, Thumbs sideways – don’t mind.
93 MinsIf majority Thumbs up or sideways, continue topic
  Repeat steps 8 and 9 until discussion is complete
10 Move topic to “Done” column and bring next highest topic from “To Do” to “Doing”
  Repeat steps 6 to 10 until 5 minutes before the close of the meeting
115 MinsKey Takeaways, Actions and Topic for next meeting

As you will see, it is a fast-paced meeting with open discussion (there is no discussion leader) and many topics generally get discussed during the meeting, leading to a lot of sharing, learning and understanding.

The Lean Coffee Facilitator

There is a facilitator, and the role of the facilitator is:

  1. Set up the Trello board and ensure that everyone is sent a link to the board
  2. Clear the board after the meeting to be ready for the next meeting
  3. Ensure that the time limits are adhered to
  4. Ensure that everyone participates in the discussions
  5. Ensure that the discussion remains on topic
  6. Make sure that the meeting ends on time.
  7. Elicit key takeaways from participants

Working Agreement

By joining the Future Fit Lean Coffee, all participants agree to the following:

  1. What is discussed in the Lean Coffee, stays in the Lean Coffee.  In other words, we will not discuss what people in the Lean Coffee session are doing with anyone outside of the Lean Coffee.  We can take the learning, but we may not reference anyone or any organisation without prior permission.
  2. We will keep our points short and to the point so that everyone in the meeting has the opportunity to participate.
  3. We will stick to the time limits and respect the decisions of the facilitator

Virtual Meeting and Technology

These meetings will all be virtual so that as many as possible can attend without major disruption to your day.  For the meeting we will use Google Meet (, and for the Kanban we will use Trello (  Both are free to use so there is no additional expense.

The meeting is just one hour, so we will start sharply at 14h00 and end at 15h00.  You are welcome to join in late, if necessary, but please note that we will not be going over items previously discussed or decided.  If people want to carry on the discussions outside of the Lean Coffee, we can set up a Slack channel.  But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  Let’s see what works for us now, and we can decide what we want to change going forward.

I hope that this all makes sense to you, and, if you haven’t experienced a Lean Coffee-style meeting before, I’m sure that you will find it fun and informative and you will probably want to use this style more in your organisation.

To join this Future Fit Lean Coffee group, go to our events page (click on Thought Leadership > Events, and click to attend the different events.

Please remember, there is no agenda and no topic, those are decided by participants in the first 15 minutes of each meeting.

Here are the links once again:

Google Meet –

Trello –