The next nine pages, most of the rest of this
section, are my own collection of the guides, tools, and handouts
I use to introduce, plan and conduct open space events in organization.
Either of the preceding articles is appropriate
as a handout to groups considering the use of Open Space Technology,
but the following list of story seeds is usually where I start
the conversation about Open Space as a method.
- the energy of a good coffee break
- finding what works and growing more of it
- passion bounded by responsibility
- productivity guaranteed
- simple, transparent, replicable, scalable
- how inviting is your organization?
- the four principles are about spirit
- the one law is about learning
- cyberspace is open space
- blowing bubbles at work
- appropriate structure, genuine community
- the evolution of organization
- can catholics do this?
Each bullet point refers to a different story
or set of stories about how Open Space works. Most of these stories
are told somewhere in this volume and most of the bullet points
could be replaced with your own favorite stories from Open Space.
The first story is the story of where Open
Space Tech came from, as told earlier in Harrison's article.
The second story is of my own introduction to Open Space, as
told in the Introduction of this volume. And, yes, the last bullet
point "Can Catholics do this?" is a question that was
actually asked in the planning of my first Open Space event.
In fact, this question comes up in lots of
settings, about lots of different 'kinds' of people. It sounds
like: "Yeah, okay, now I/we (the leader/planners) really
do get it, but can our engineers, sales people, kids, nurses,
drivers, staff, participants, etc. do this?" And the answer
is always, YES! Open Space runs on some really basic human mechanisms:
circle, bulletin board, marketplace, and the ups and downs, ins
and outs, back and forth or breathing and conversation.
Next, you'll find several pages that lead
from initial consideration of Open Space, through event planning
and site set-up, and into the opening moments with a sample opening
script. When it comes right down to it, there are only four main
issues to attend to in the planning of an Open Space event: invitation,
guest list, logistics and follow-up. In practice, however, it
can get a little more interesting than this, so the following
pages offer some additional detail on preparation.
These pages also contain a number of references
to real case stories available on the internet. Even more references
are offered in the Appendix, as well. Open Space Tech has now
been used with so many different kinds of organizations that
a fitting story can be found for almost any situation and a complete
sampling just doesn't fit in a book anymore! If all else fails,
and you can't find the story you need online, you can always
subscribe to the worldwide listserve to post your questions/needs
to some of the most active and experiences practitioners on the
Finally, this section closes with some guiding
images, for facilitator preparation and organizational follow-through.