Facilitation method: Open space methodology/technology
Open Space Technology (or methodology) is a self-organising method that can be used to run meetings for a diverse public in order to address complex topics.
My experience in OS is very limited, that is why I rely a lot on picking the brains of those who do this type of facilitation for a living. There are also some good websites like this one recommended by Tom http://www.openspaceworld.org/
by Johanne Lortie
The OS can be used in training to help participants come up with a concrete plan of action. It’s also very used in the private sector for solving complexed problem. It works best under the following conditions:
– The topic of the meeting involves a real issue
– The participants really care about that issue
– The issue has so much complexity that no single person or small group can fully understand it
– The issue requires highly diverse skills and people for a successful resolution
– The participants have genuine passion about the issue; which can often include conflict
– The issue requires immediate action (a “decision time of yesterday”)
No matter the environment you work in, participants/staff find it very empowering. As a trainer, using the OS, the hardest thing to do in is to learn to let go and and let participants take over. Sounds easy but it’s not. As a start it might be interesting to check out the facilitator resources that are published on the OpenSpaceWorld website. Click here to retrieve it. To conclude this post, check the Open Space in 30 seconds, time-lapse video of a one-day event at the BBC and a larger explanation of what the open space is all about.