Open Space Technology (OST)
Alan Stewart send this interesting briefing to the OSLIST. More info at: www.openspaceworld.org
Photo: opening space for peace in the Basque Country (March 2011)
What is OST?
It is a highly effective, participant-led process that has been described as the most powerful leadership and meeting approach for the 21stcentury.
For it is a way to rapidly increase participation, equality, engagement, inclusion, ownership, and energy for change within your organisation, community or project.
These happen as it enables groups to identify critical issues, voice their passions and concerns, learn from each other, and take collective responsibility for finding solutions.
While being a process, practice and philosophy that is flexible and strong enough to work with a few people or with thousands, for a few hours or over several days or more.
In what contexts is OST of particular value?
- a real issue of concern, a lot of caring about the issue and a lot at stake (personally or collectively; a reason for meeting that resonates embodied by a theme)
- a high level of complexity (an issue to tackle that is bigger than any single individual or small group)
- a real passion, caring a lot about the situation or issue
- diversity (diversity in thinking, diversity in being open or in other words not rehashing the same stuff with the same people; a true interest in fully engaging, listening and speaking)
- a spirit of invitation (you don't have to come but we'd love you to come and we'd want you there because you have a lot to contribute); and if you do decide to come, it's because you have passion and care enough to take responsibility and are making the commitment to be there the whole time
- an open dialogue with the sponsor and host team in the pre-work about self-organization, how Open Space is not your typical predict-control model geared to a defined outcome, not your traditional facilitation, and not the oft way of leading when someone is expected to inspire, have all the answers or make the final decisions.
With acknowledgments to Liz Martins and Suzanne Daigle.
And with the thought that you may also find this useful for your purposes.