"Open Space Technology is intentionally initiated self organisation with Human Beings"

Harrison Owen

"Open space technology is a simple and effective way of creating an environment where things are possible." 

Michael Lindfield.

Open Space Technology (OST) is a form developed to support groups to self-organize and collaborate around any question of shared concern. It gives all participants the chance to propose a starting point for discussion, take part in any of the conversations or flit between them all. It is particularly effective in dealing with complex issues where diverse and conflicting views are present. 

Over the last 25 years OST has been used across the world in an incredible range of contexts: to design aeroplane doors, resolve land disputes, address economic, environmental, social, political and artistic issues of every kind. Groups of six and of six hundred have used it with equal success.

There are five principles that describe what happen in OPEN SPACE:
Whoever comes are the right people.
Wherever it happens is the right place.
Whatever happens is the only thing that could have.
Whenever it starts is the right time.
When it is over, it is over.

THE ONE LAW of OPEN SPACE is THE LAW OF TWO FEET or THE LAW OF MOBILITY: If at any time you find yourself in any situation where you are neither learning nor contributing use your two feet to take yourself where your time will be better spent – only you know where this is.

During an Open Space you might see "bumble bees" going from group to group spreading and connecting ideas, or "butterflies" hanging out at the coffee stall or random places doing very little except having great conversations. All this collective activity adds up to a system of self-organization that is highly creative and effective at dealing with real issues in a remarkably efficient way.

"In 1985 Open Space was born. It emerged not so much as a product of intentional design, but rather as an outgrowth of frustration and at some level…laziness. The frustration appeared as a result of my having spent an entire year organising an international gathering for 250 people, only to discover that the best part, as judged by myself and all the participants, were the coffee breaks. It was during the coffee breaks where the real juicy stuff happened. All the rest (featured speakers, panel discussions and the like) seemed almost an interruption to the core activity." Harrison Owen

To find out and learn more about Open Space book onto the Open Space Learning Workshop with Lisa Heft from 9th to 11th October, directly before the WOSonOS event. 

For further reading: