Open Space has been used around the world in almost every language, age and culture and with every kind of organization or community. It has been used effectively for a diverse range of purposes such as conferences, strategic planning sessions, mentoring, product development, community and team building, visioning, sales planning, customer engagement, organizing movements and conflict resolution. Open Space Technology has been used in groups ranging in size from 7 people to over a 1000!
Open Space facilitation can be done online with virtual teams.
Now, with effective, stable online video and online meeting technologies, Open Space has come into the online world. Imagine hundreds of people from around the world gathering in a live virtual space, focused on a purpose, creating an agenda together and breaking out into multiple simultaneous virtual video rooms to do their work. This is what is possible and the cost savings and possibilities for team collaboration are immense.
The Law of Two Feet (also called The Law of Mobility) states that if participants find themselves in situations where they are neither learning anything or contributing anything, they are responsible for moving to another place, for example to another group meeting. The principles and law enable people to participate in ways that are most meaningful to them. They get to take responsibility and contribute according to their passions, talents, skills, curiosity and energy in the best way they can in any moment.
When organizations capture the energy of their people through optimal, engaged learning, passion and personal responsibility, then performance dramatically improves. People are motivated and the right work gets done!
Having explained the process, the facilitator opens the meeting to let the group create the agenda by identifying topics that are important to the individual regarding the theme. The individual puts his or her topic on a sheet of flip-chart paper along with their name announces the topic to the group, and then posts the topic on the agenda wall. There is a means of assigning room spaces and times for the topics that are generated.
When all the topics are up, everyone goes to this "marketplace of topics" and signs up for the topics of discussion that interest them. The facilitator gets out of the way. The group self-manages the discussions and produces a report of the proceedings at the end of their discussion for all to read. The facilitator oversees what is happening at the computer station, which is where the reports from each group get inputted. The facilitator reconvenes the group as a collective whole at day's end and in the morning again in a multi-day event.