Open space

Open Space gives the participants – in contrast to a Dialogue conference – the possibility of introducing whichever issues they wish to the agenda and discussing them in groups of their own choosing.

The conference is divided into the following stages:

  • Forum. The participants sit in a large circle and those who have something on their minds are encouraged by the leader to present the topic to the others. The topics are posted on the wall
  • Market place. The participants gather in front of the suggested topics and form discussion groups of their own choosing. Note that the conference facilitators do not direct this stage
  • Talks in small groups
  • The participants reassemble, report back and form interest groups

Open forum is suitable for anything from a dozen up to several hundred people. It aims for maximum participation on equal terms, with maximum scope for the principle of Personal autonomy. See also Harrison Owen, Open Space Technology: A User’s Guide, Berrett-Koehler, 1997

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Posted in Method Bank, Methods