Open Space conferences are particularly effective when a large, complex operation needs to be thoroughly re-conceptualized and reorganized — when the task is just too big and complicated to be sorted out “from the top.”
The methodology rests in the assumption that a human/organizational system contains within it the seeds of everything that needs to happen to improve, re-direct and energize a new way of being and acting. As a planning process, Open Space provides the opportunity for groups to affect this self-organizing principle, address matters of importance and evolve into a new configuration of partnerships, action teams and priorities.
Open Space suits groups of any size, ranging from five to several thousand participants and is an ideal planning method when:
1. the topic of the meeting involves a real business issue
2. the participants really care about that issue (which can often involve conflict)
3. the issue has so much complexity that no single person or small group can fully understand it
4. the issue requires highly diverse skills and people for a successful resolution
5. the issue requires immediate action
The reasons for the method’s success lie in OST’s Four Principles and the One Law:
1. Whoever comes are the right people
2. Whatever happens is the only thing that could have
3. Whenever it starts is the right time
4. When it’s over, it’s over
The “Law of Two Feet” – if at any time during the conference someone finds themselves in a situation where they are neither learning nor contributing, they are to use their two feet, go to some other place where they can learn and contribute.
For more information on Open Space, explore http://www.openspaceworld.com/brief_history.htm