This collection of resources, notes, stories and references is intended to support facilitators and sponsors in convening and running Open Space Technology events. There are also resources here that may extend deeper learning in the four practice areas of opening, inviting, holding and grounding, and help you find ways to open and hold space in bigger ways.
An example of opening space
This is a longer form opening recorded at a provincial gathering of social service providers who were looking at addressing issues arising from the death of a young person in the care of the state. It is an example of my basic script, which has a few pieces to it:
- Acknowledging who is present
- Articulating the invitation
- Explaining the process
- Describing the principles
- Restating the invitation
- Opening the space
Opening the conversation
Use these resources for opening the conversation with sponsors and preparing yourself for facilitating OpenSpace events.
- from OpenSpaceWorld.org
- Logistics Planning
- Open Space overview (.pdf) – A useful handout describing the process, including a scenario and links to resources.
Creating Invitations that rock.
Use these resources in working with sponsors to prepare invitations.
- Open Space Invitation Guide – a great resource by Michael Herman.
- 30 snappy definitions of Open Space (.doc) – Useful for including in invitations.
- Four longer definitions of Open Space
Holding space and supporting emergence
Use these resources to understand the role of the facilitator, and to help plan and layout the space in which you will be working.
- Sample opening script for facilitator
- Checklists, forms and handouts
- Logistics planning checklist (.doc)
- Session report form (.doc) – For handing out to session conveners
- Action planning session form (.doc) – For handing out to action champions
- Open Space evaluation form (.doc) – A simple and effective way to record impressions and results
- For some people, the notion that a meeting has no pre-set agenda is a little hard to swallow. For those within your group who require a piece of paper with times and activities listed on it, feel free to provide them with the following:
Reading that will take you deeper into Open Space
These resources will take you deeper into a practice of Open Space as a facilitator, leader or learner in organizations, communities and life.
- Thoughts and notes on Open Space from my weblog
- The purpose of purpose by Peggy Holman
- Standing in a sacred circle by Pema Chodron. One way to prepare for opening space.
- Opening up possibilities by Dina Mehta. A nice map to help focus opening conversations on needs.
- Three necessary capabilities for becoming aware by Dave Pollard. A corporate consultant and former senior manager struggles with opening practices.
- Mission Control? by Harrison Owen
- Pema Chodron on Shenpa
- Opening Space for the Question by Harrison Owen. On Open Space and not-knowing.
- An excellent primer on self-organizing systems
- The Art of Powerful Questions – A brilliant and definitive guide on asking powerful questions, from the originators of the World Cafe community.
- How stories affect human action in organizations by Frank Smits
- Citizenship and the creation of community by Peter Block. How invitation and other practices support the creation of community.
- Leadership Cults and Cultures by Anne Deering, Robert Dilts and Julien Russell. Excellent overview of grounding practices for leaders.
- Play for today by Pat Kane. On play and flow in leadership.
- Strengths and weaknesses of volunteer networks by Peter Levine. A concise list of things to be aware of if working with volunteer networks post-Open Space.
- The Dexterous Butcher by Chuang Tzu
Books and other resources
A collection of online books that support Open Space, including the first edition of Harrison Owen’s User’s Guide.
- Open Space Technology: A User’s Guide. by Harrison Owen. The original User’s Guide online for free.
- Open Space Technology: a User’s NON-guide edited by Chris Corrigan and Michael Herman
- The Tao of Holding Space by Chris Corrigan. A deeper reflection on facilitation practice
- Inviting Organization by Michael Herman.
- Tales From Open Space by Harrison Owen.
- A list of books in my library
Three excellent starting places for exploring the world wide Open Space on the internet.