OPEN SPACE is a method for complex groups to self-organize and direct the energy of the group into subjects each participant cares for. Though it is mainly a tool for gatherings it contains quite a bit of philosophical perspective which can be implemented also as an operational tool.
In an Open Space gathering it is good to focus on the issue that is large enough in terms of passion and concern to those involved. It can be formed into an umbrella question that triggers off interest and creativity in participants to find out topics they´d like to explore.
- When ever it starts, it is the right time: for a good conversation you only need one other person who shares the same interest.
- Who ever comes are the right people: all you need is there.
- What ever happens, is the only thing that could have happened: there is no fixed idea about the outcome. Prepare to be surprised.
- Where ever it happens, is the only place it could have happened: the best conversations could happen outside the session- during the coffee break or on your way to another session.
- When it´s over, it´s over: at least one part of it. But the discussion could carry on, bring new connections and ideas.
One law- the law of two feet:
Whenever you find yourself in a conversation where you can´t learn or contribute ask yourself:
- am I able to change my attitude?
- am I able to make an intervention, e.g. ask a question that brings a new element into the conversation?
If not, leave the conversation. The responsibility for learning and contribution lies on each others shoulders.
At an Open Space gathering there are different roles that constantly change depending on participants´interest:
- hosts: announce and host a workshop
- participant: participates in a workshop
- bumblebees and butterflies: people who take the law of two feet seriously- they pollinate and cross-pollinate. Bumblebees shop between the workshops, butterflies take time to reflect and could have inspiring conversations with the other butterflies