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Learning and Knowledge Exchange

Brown Bag Lunch

An easy and informal way to foster learning and sharing

A brown bag lunch is a lunchtime gathering for sharing new ideas or recent developments (e.g. new research, significant events or experiences) on a topic of interest. It can also be an occasion for getting feedback on a new idea or proposal.

The presenter may be a colleague or an external expert. Participation is usually open to anyone within an organization, and attendance is optional. Brown bag lunch presentations are usually informal, though they may use slides. Attendees bring their own lunch (hence the ‘brown bag’).

Brown bag lunches cost virtually nothing to organize. They are popular among both presenters and participants because of their informal and non-hierarchical approach to learning. Brown bag lunches help start relevant conversations, offer networking opportunities, and are particularly useful for participants who can’t spare much time from their daily work. They are a good complement to (not a substitute for) official information channels and required training.


  • Presenter
  • Projector and laptop (optional, depending on presenter and content)
  • Room with chairs and table(s) for participants
  • 45 minutes - 1 hour
  • Up to 25 participants (keeping it fairly limited in numbers encourages informality)

Download the full module on the Brown Bag Lunch (PDF), including when and why to use, how to apply, tips for success, variations, and references.



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