The ideas behind Open Space strikes a chord with me, specifically the idea that the really juicy part of a process happens in the coffee breaks! This is an experience that so often happens in an Improbable making process.
OPEN SPACE what is it?
In an Open Space meeting the participants create their own programme of self-managed sessions (such as discussion groups, experiential workshops, ideas sessions and planning meetings) related to a central theme of strategic importance, such as: How can we make our company a great place to work?
Open Space meetings allow diverse and often very large groups of people to get together, discuss issues of heartfelt concern, share ideas, pool their knowledge and develop plans for collaborative action.
There are no invited speakers, and just one facilitator to explain the procedure and facilitate the plenary sessions.
Open Space meetings are particularly effective when complex or conflict-ridden issues must be resolved very quickly, and when people need to work together as equals to decide how they will bring something new into being or bring about a mutually-desired change.
A prerequisite is that the focal issue or theme must be of genuine concern to all those involved, as participation is normally voluntary. The participant group can be of any size, from twelve people to a thousand or more, and the meeting is usually held over one, two or three days.
Typically by the conclusion of a meeting, the following promises have been kept:
1. Every issue of concern to anybody has been laid upon the table.
2. All issues have been discussed to the extent that anybody cared to do that.
3. A full written record of all discussions exists and is in the hands of all participants.
The Four Principles Of OPEN SPACE
Whoever comes is the right people.
Whatever happens is the only thing that could have.
Whenever it starts is the right time.
When it is over, it is over.
THE ONE LAW of OPEN SPACE - THE LAW OF TWO FEET:
If at any time you find yourself in any situation where you are neither learning nor contributing... use your two feet.
Phelim McDermott November 2005