Location : AgileCoachCamp Wiki > OpenSpace OpenSpace


We love working in self-organizing teams - well, OpenSpace is a simple technique for creating a self-organizing conference! It is the grandmother of today's BarCamps and "unconferences." Created fifteen years ago in a two-martini brainstorming session by Harrison Owen, it runs on Owen's ''four principles and one law," and has been used by thousands of people around the globe since then:
  1. Whoever comes is the right people
  2. Whenever it starts is the right time
  3. Whatever happens is the only thing that could have
  4. 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 you 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 OpenSpace 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.

Don't worry how this will work - just show up with your passion and PrepareToBeSurprised !

You may think: "I'm not sure my boss will send me to a three-day event without an agenda!" Ah, but 15 years of experience have shown that this is one of the most highly effective ways to run a conference - that produces real results!
  • OpenSpace is a recognized as way to share knowledge quickly - the latest information, fresh from the community of practice. No need to wait for that knowledge to make it into a book, two years later!
  • OpenSpace has been used for over 15 years s by governments, businesses and non-profits. Its use is on the rise in the form of the un-conference movement.
  • OpenSpace allows beginners to learn from experienced practitioners, and allows experienced practitioners to solidify what they know through teaching and getting feedback from peers
An OpenSpace event requires people to fill three important roles:
  1. A sponsor - who has the pulse of their group and sets a theme people can get passionate about, who cares enough to puts in place the structure needed, then makes an invitation and steps back to let things happen. For the first AgileCoachCamp2008 this is NareshJain and DeborahHartmannPreuss , but we hope that others will take it on next year,or sooner!

  2. An OpenSpace facilitator - who helps the sponsor craft the theme and an invitation to bring in "the right people", sets the stage by proposing a simple and egalitarian process where all are equally empowered to create the conference they need, and guides the use of OpenSpace, "holding space" for participant self-organization.

  3. Passionate and responsible participants - who self-select into the event and bring their passion and responsibility to co-create the event, one discussion at a time. That would be you and your friends!

Running a discussion in OpenSpace can take many forms. The important common element is leaving the "space" for people to participate (i.e. no monologues in OpenSpace!). Examples of past sessions:
  • Write your topic on the flipchart, and ask if anyone who's showed up wants to facilitate the conversation (or do it yourself). Then start a discussion, see what happens. Take notes, or ask someone else take notes, or take turns!
  • use a fishbowl to run a session. It keeps the conversation intimate, but lets everyone talk in turn, if a large group shows up.


Created by debhart. Last Modification: Sunday, 27 of January, 2008 19:45:34 CET by debhart.