at Work:

A Personal
and Public
Invitation to
Open Space

Michael Herman

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What Open Space Does


Invites collective awareness and organizes individual action to:

  • Resolve important or difficult issues and get the workflow back on track;
  • Rally people and resources around new opportunities, or into new situations;
  • Move strategic projects forward with broad, cross-functional wisdom and support;
  • Re-energize everyone's contribution to achieving strategic objectives and realizing most desirable futures; and
  • Channel the power of existing, organic systems into fast, effective results.


Sees work clearly and gets it done quickly with the simple, organic power of self-organization and self-direction. Open Space meetings and conferences can be as short as 3-4 hours, or as long as 2-3 days, with groups of 5 to 500 (or more). They can be organized in a matter of just days or weeks, depending on their size and scope. They are, however, always rooted in four basic goals and intentions, all aimed at best work:

  • Personal Insight - identify, share and leverage the abundance of everything we already know and care about doing best work
  • Open Invitation - involve all (and only) those people who care enough to take responsibility for doing best work
  • Interactive Forum - get out and go beyond everyday routines and traditional structures that often get in the way of real flow and best work
  • Integrated Practice - help everyone do more work with less effort by linking individual ideas and actions to larger pieces of best work.


Deals directly and easily with the reality of rapid, swirling change...
when the way it's always been really runs out of gas. An evolutionary perspective and a little Open Space help leaders (at any level) deal openly and directly with four challenging realities:

  • High Complexity - when no one person or group has the whole story or the perfect solution;
  • High Passion, Concern, or even Conflict - when the issue or opportunity is of real importance to people, when it really counts;
  • High Diversity - when a variety of different stakeholders, skills, styles or opinions must contribute to one collective best effort; and
  • Urgent Situations - when the time to make wise decisions and take effective action is NOW, if not sooner.

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Evolution at Work: A Personal Journey and Public Invitation to Open Space, by Michael Herman (www.michaelherman.com)
© Copyright 1998-2000 Michael Herman. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reprint or distribute without permission and full attribution, including web address and copyright notice. Permission will be granted gladly if you'll just say what you'd like to copy and where you'd like to share it. [email protected]