Open Space Technology – an ‘operating system’ for complexity
If I didn’t know about Open Space, I reckon I’d have to invent it! Barely a day goes by when I don’t use what I know about Open Space – sometimes directly by actually using Open Space Technology as a meeting process, or more often, as a way of understanding and relating to whatever is going on, especially in groups. And even when I can’t use the full-blown open space process, I can often use parts of the process to enable groups to become more connected to what they are passionate about and how they might take responsibility.
On the surface, Open Space is a simple process: seat people in a circle, introduce the theme, open the space, allow self-organisation, write some reports, develop some actions, close the circle. Yet it sits on a foundation of deep awareness of how people relate to each other, their passions and their responsibilities. It approaches who is present, and why, when and where they work based on complexity and self-organising systems. It is, indeed, an ‘operating system’ for these tricky, sometimes chaotic, times.
And there’s also a great bonus in using Open Space. The people. The Open Space tribe is a diverse, fascinating and generous bunch. One of the reasons I try and get to Open Space on Open Space gatherings is simply to be in conversation with some of these people. (This year the World OSonOS is in Taiwan in October) In a world where we are all multi-tasking with limited capacity to focus on each other, let alone ideas, the prospect of deep and challenging conversations is very appealing.
Many of us around the world provide training in Open Space Technology. I’m lucky to partner with Brian Bainbridge to deliver training in Melbourne, usually one or twice a year. If you’re interested in our next public training, there’s some info here.