We use the Open Space meeting format, which means you, the participant, determine the topics and questions that you want to talk about. We’ll create our own agenda and people will then join the small group discussions that interest them. Open Space is very complimentary to Agile & Lean thought processes, and actually shares some of the same principles. Open Space is all about self-organizing and empowered teams. Open Space will allow YOU and other participants to bring to the conference the issues and opportunities that are emerging for you in real time. For some of you this will also be a first opportunity to experience Open Space, yet another effective tool you should know about, for cultivating communities of practice in your region.
You don’t have to be an expert to propose a topic or ask a question. You are simply inviting people into a conversation with you – other people who are also passionate about your topic or question. These conversations can build knowledge, and often lead to future collaborations; Open Space is great for networking! It has the feel of a good coffee break, where people are free to come and go from conversations as they please, yet it has a structure that helps you to know what conversations are happening so that you can join up with people interested in the same things as you.
Created fifteen years ago in a two-martini brainstorming session by Harrison Owen, Open Space runs on Owen’s ”four principles and one law,” and has been used by thousands of people around the globe since then:
- Whoever comes is the right people
- Whenever it starts is the right time
- Whatever happens is the only thing that could have
- When it’s over it’s over
The Law Of Two Feet: “If at any time you find that you are neither learning nor contributing, use your two feet and move to some place more to you liking.” Such a place might be another group, or even outside into the sunshine. No matter what, don’t sit there feeling miserable. It’s your conference, and you’re in charge of it.
In Open Space there are no leaders, no followers, definitely no talking-heads – only participants. Does this sound strange to you? Come prepared to create the event you need – starting with collaboratively building our agenda on the first day, full of topics we have passion for.