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A way of letting social self-organization take over in gatherings.

"At the point of arrival, the participants knew only when things would start, when it would conclude, and generally what the theme might be. There was no agenda, no planning committee, no management committee, and the only facilitator in evidence essentially disappeared after several hours. Just 85 people sitting in a circle. Much to the amazement of everybody, two hours later we had a three day agenda totally planned out including multiple workshops, all with conveners, times, places and participants.

Observably, the operative mechanism was simplicity itself. As each person determined that they had some area of exploration they would like to pursue, they would write a brief description on a small placard, announce their topic to the assembled group, post the placard on the wall and sit down. When no further topics were posted, the original proposers determined the time and place for meeting, and anybody interested in a particular topic signed up. That was it."

"Open Space Technology is one way to enable all kinds of people, in any kind of organization, to create inspired meetings and events. Over the last 15 years, it has also become clear that opening space, as an intentional leadership practice, can create inspired organizations, where ordinary people work together to create extraordinary results with regularity.

In Open Space meetings, events and organizations, participants create and manage their own agenda of parallel working sessions around a central theme of strategic importance, such as: What is the strategy, group, organization or community that all stakeholders can support and work together to create?

With groups of 5 to 1000 -- working in one-day workshops, three-day conferences, or the regular weekly staff meeting -- the common result is a powerful, effective connecting and strengthening of what's already happening in the organization: planning and action, learning and doing, passion and responsibility, participation and performance."


This is pretty interesting, has anyone experienced this?

I have, quite a few times. From as small as 6 people group to as large as 100 or so people group. --JuneKim


I am a facilitator and educator who specializes in the method of OpenSpace. I have used it for groups up to 1500 people (it is a great method for convening conferences). Please feel free to contact me directly if you'd like to share learning on the method, read more about it, find out where to take workshops to learn it, or just ask questions. -- LisaHeft mailto:lisaheft@openingspace.net and http://www.openingspace.net

For an article describing Open Space Technology:

To read more about it, plus a place for those who are learning or already using the method to find futher resources: To see photos of some Open Space events:

See also Wiki:OpenSourceUnionism


the following copied from the OpenSpace page while re-working as these two pages refer to teh same animal:

Open Space (full name OpenSpaceTechnology) is a method for convening people which operates face-to-face very much like wiki - it invites participants in meetings, retreats and conferences to co-create the agenda and conduct concurrent and overlapping discussions around a theme, often writing up their notes into a full record of proceedings.

I'm happy to share information, materials and ideas on the method to help learners and users of Open Space. Please feel free to contact me directly if you'd like to share learning on the method, read more about it, find out where to take workshops to learn it, or just ask questions. -- LisaHeft mailto:lisaheft@openingspace.net and http://www.openingspace.net

Worldwide info site: http://www.openspaceworld.org/

Earliest wiki on Open Space (among other things): http://www.michaelherman.com/cgi/wiki.cgi?OpenSpaceTechnology

More from Lisa's site:

For an article describing Open Space Technology:

To read more about it, plus a place for those who are learning or already using the method to find futher resources: To see photos of some Open Space events:


I wonder: Can Open Spaces be done online, using tools for VirtualPresence? such as Traveller (http://digitalspace.com/traveler/index.html)? Has anyone experienced this? What tools can be used? (OpenSpaceOnline ?)


Hi. This is Lisa again. There is a tool called OpenSpaceOnline. See her description at that link

It is an electronic version of an Open Space conference developed by a team led by Open Space facilitator Gabriela Ender in Germany - it simulates a several-session Open Space. Not as good as face-to-face (you have to be able to handle chatting and sitting at your computer for the several hours of the meeting - very hard physically for some and for others very hard to take in information via text) but really great for when you can't get together face-to-face.


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