at Work:

A Personal
and Public
Invitation to
Open Space

Michael Herman

Comments and
Questions to:

[email protected]

For Reprints,
Electronic Copies
and Permissions:

[email protected]

previous | contents | next page

An Open Space Workplan


BEFORE an Open Space Meeting or Conference:

  • Open conversation and one-on-one interviews to explore the issues, opportunities, intentions, appropriateness, scope, and timing;
  • Set parameters that determine just how open this should or could get; challenge leadership to provide as many 'degrees of freedom' as possible, including who needs to be invited for best possible results;
  • Make logistical decisions, including drafting and distribution of the invitation, choice of space, information processing plans, and other practical matters;
  • Clarify expectations around questions of control, success, measurement, evaluation, surprise, and support for follow-up, (which might include holding a small 'dry-run' meeting, for key personnel, before a larger conference).



  • Finalize preparations of meeting space (and establish communication with on-site hospitality staff for conferences);
  • Facilitate the opening of the space, initiating the processes for self-organization and best work;
  • Guide and support data-processing activities (and hospitality activities during conferences);
  • Maintain conditions for best work; every participant's right to determine what constitutes their own best learning, best contribution, best work.



  • Debrief conversation, revisiting questions of control, success, measurement, evaluation, surprise and support for follow-up;
  • Complete processing of information into proceedings document, including formatting document for electronic distribution/access;
  • Establish interactive systems, including methods for electronic communication, that will support follow-up learning and action; and
  • Support emergence of new issues, invitations, interactions and opportunities for contribution.

previous | contents | next page


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]