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Open Space Technology

Posted by Jai on June 4, 2008

Open What?

OpenSpace is a way for people to gather, exchange ideas, learn and contribute in a self-organising way.


Everybody comes together in a central place. The host presents the theme, the rules (not many) and the mechanisms. Then whoever has a subject he or she would like to discuss, he stands in the center of the circle, shortly introduces the subject and chooses a time and a place on a big board called the “marketplace”. People then separate out into breakout locations.The “slots” are only there to provide some structure. It does not matter how long a session takes. It could be ten minutes, it could be all night. It starts when it starts, and it ends when it ends.

The Four Principles

  • Whoever shows up is the right people
  • Whatever happens is the only thing that could
  • It starts when it starts
  • It’s over when it’s over

The One Law: The Law of Two Feet

Whenever you are in a place that you feel you are not learning or contributing, go to a place where you can learn or contribute.


Host: Hosts a session, documents the results
Participant: Shows up for a session, supports the host
goes from session to session, cross-pollinator
Butterfly: can not currently find a session to learn or contribute. So just sits and beautifies the Space.

Be prepared to be surprised

Be prepared to be surprised is a statement that asks you to be open to new impressions, opinions: to keep an open mind and try to look for things that surprise and delight you.

Don’t forget to read out Open Space Technology: A User’s Guide by Harrison Owen.


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