If you were to ask people in your organisation, "Would you like to meet more people?", the answer would probably be "Yes". 

However, in today's world, meetings could prove to be difficult as people work in different departments, different buildings, different teams and even in different countries. 

This is where Randomised Coffee Trials (RCTs) may hold the solution.

Randomised coffee trials are a brilliantly simple way of connecting people who wouldn’t normally get the chance to meet and have a conversation. They are proven to encourage people to work collaboratively and break down silos.

Helen Bevan, Chief Transformation Officer, NHS Horizons said, “Often, as leaders, we are aware of what is going on in our organisations but we are not as involved or connected as we could be. Randomised Coffee Trials are such a simple but powerful way of getting meaningful connections going which can lead to real change.”

How do they work?

People interested in pairing up for a RCT are asked to send an email to a central email address. All these people’s names are entered into an excel spreadsheet, in two columns. Individuals are then matched randomly with a partner and introduced to each other. It’s then up to them to arrange a phone call, a Skype/Zoom call, a face to face meeting… or whatever works best. The conversation topic isn’t prescribed – people can talk about whatever they want.

This Slideshare presentation gives more detailed instructions on how to set up an RCT, including excel and email templates, and promotional posters you can customise.

The School for Change Agents and the Perceptions of Nursing and Midwifery programmes within NHS Horizons used RCTs to bring people with similar interests together to have conversations, build networks and share learning and ideas.

These were a huge success, with some fabulous connections and conversations going on all around the world.

This Twitter Moment captures a flavour of the enthusiasm and relationships built (please click on the Moment to see more).

So, if you’re looking for a simple, effective way to connect, build strong networks, break down silos and share information, Randomised Coffee* Trials might be just the thing for you.

*Other beverages are available

Further links to information

Institutionalising serendipity via productive coffee breaks - Nesta

Randomised coffee trials - David Gurteen

Implementing randomised coffee trials - Spark Collaboration