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Open Space Technology

a powerful way to help your people create new futures 

 

Open Space Technology (OST) is about creating a space where individuals who feel strongly about an issue can raise it amongst similarly interested, although not necessarily, like minded people, who want to be there and listen and contribute.

OST is about letting participants create and follow their own agenda. We all know that the most productive time in any organized conference are the bits we organize for ourselves - coffee breaks, meals and Happy Hour - when we are able to link with the people we want to and to join in with conversations which interest us.

OST assumes that we are responsible for our actions. We get as much out as we put in. We turn upside down the process where we are talked at and a pre-determined outcome is sought. We are expected to choose where your greatest contribution can be made (see Law of Two Feet).

Laws

Whoever comes is the right person

Whatever happens is the only thing that could happen

Whenever it starts is the right time

Whenever it is over, it is over

The Law Of Two Feet - when you are not contributing or learning anymore, use your feet and go. If you feel excluded simply depart. You are free to participate in, or observe several meetings, moving from one to the other. 

Methodology:

The process starts with an issue - which people feel strongly about and want to do something about - encapsulated in a question. 

Participants then generate what they feel strongly about and propose to conduct a session to explore the topic and find some actions. 

These are posted on the wall into a venue/time grid by the participants. 

Usually there are two morning and two afternoon periods scheduled.

Participants can extend the discussions but must fit into the timetabling requirements of other groups who have booked the space. 

If there are several topics you are interested in, you have to make choices. If you are not interested in issues and may just prefer to have a coffee and participate in impromptu meetings. 

Time clashes must be sorted out by participants. 

Note-taking is important because the sharing of the learning is critical - notes are posted for all to read and add comments too.

These notes are then consolidated.

The process ends with a full group meeting.

Role Of The Facilitator:

T

To

O

A

 

2004 SYMFONYS Group     Updated 23 October 2004