You know what it&#x2019;s like to be at a conference or in a meeting and wondering to yourself, &#x201C;Why am I here?&#x201D; Or maybe you picked a certain breakout session and ten minutes into it you&#x2019;re bored out of your mind and you&#x2019;re ready to fake an emergency call from your mommy to try to get you out of it.
In 1983 Harrison Owen discovered that the best conversations tend to take place on the coffee breaks rather than in the meeting itself. Since then, 80,000 Open Space meetings around the globe have unleashed the power of self-organization.
15 years, on 5 continents, with no marketing budget or advertising department - viral technology African villages, corporate boardrooms, all kinds of churches, the Peace Corps and the Pentagon, Banks and Techs, government and community organizations, school leaders and youth groups... with anywhere from 5 to 1000 people at a time Outstanding results -- it will work for us, too
What do we know about who's here? ...nobody knows exactly why they&#x2019;re here, everybody cares, nobody&#x2019;s in charge, everybody&#x2019;s skilled
How can we harness the power, passion and smarts in the room?
Open Space begins with an open question. This is decided upon by the commissioning group. i.e., &#x201C;How can we ensure that all members of the community are involved in decisions that effect them?&#x201D;
don't need 100 people and the ceo to do good work...need the people who care if nobody comes, might be a bad idea, or just bad timing you might be the only one who knows enough to deal with it or see its importance take it as just another piece of information, spend time on it yourself or move on be prepared to be surprised, be very dull if everything always went as expected forget coulda, woulda and shoulda and go with the flow of what is here and now spirit and creativity don't run on the clock if you finish in ten minutes, don't rehash for another 50...move on when it's not over, it's not over...so you might have to move locations (darn, we&#x2019;re taking it to the pub), but don't have to end
You have the right and the responsibility to use your two feet to go wherever you need to in order to maximize your own learning and contributing today. When mind wanders, take your body with it... stay whole! If you're not learning or contributing...go someplace else -- don't waste time. Means if you aren't enjoying where you are, it's totally your choice to stay or move on Law is death to egotists and speechmakers
Facilitator opens the space by walking around the circle and inviting people to post topics.
People writing agenda topics. It never takes very long before the creative juices start flowing.
Participant posting his topic on the agenda wall.
Group checking out the topics on offer. Each topic has a post-it note with the time and place on it showing when and where the conversation will convene.
Small group hard at work. Participants can reach very deep levels of engagement and dialogue in Open Space.
The news wall. The proceedings of the day are added as they are produced, making for a living record of the day's events.
How could this be useful in your organization/group?
open space outcomes
• All issues and opportunities of most importance to the participants
were laid upon the table.
• All topics were discussed to the extent that anybody cared to.
• A full written record of all discussions is online &/or in the hands of
• Critical opportunities have been isolated and next step actions
• Commitments for action have been made.
a true un-conference