A Tour through Open Space by the Center for Collaborative Awareness

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Open Space is one way to enable all kinds of people, in any kind of organization, to create inspired meetings and events. It then goes on to create inspired organizations where ordinary people work together to create extraordinary results with regularity.

In Open Space meetings, participants create and manage their own agenda around a central theme of strategic importance, such as: What is the strategy that all stakeholders in the organization can support and work together to create? OR How can we re-ignite passion in our company and look forward to building a future that engages all?

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A Tour through Open Space by the Center for Collaborative Awareness

  1. 1. a tour through Open Space
 creating inspired organizations and communities www.openspacemeetings.com www.collaborativeawareness.com
 Maureen K. McCarthy & Zelle Nelson (+1) 847.859.9046 2021 Greenville Hwy., Flat Rock, NC, 28731, USA conversations@collaborativeawareness.com
  2. 2. A Tour Through Open Space Open Space is one way to enable all kinds of people, in any kind of organization, to create inspired meetings and events. It then goes on to create inspired organizations where ordinary people work together to create extraordinary results with regularity. In Open Space meetings, participants create and manage their own agenda around a central theme of strategic importance, such as: What is the strategy that all stakeholders in the organization can support and work together to create? OR How can we re-ignite passion in our company and look forward to building a future that engages all? www.openspacemeetings.com
  3. 3. Open Space works best when • the work to be done is complex • the people and ideas involved are diverse • the passion for resolution (and potential for conflict) are high • and the time to get it done was yesterday It's been called passion bounded by responsibility, the energy of a good coffee break, spirit at work, chaos and creativity, and a simple, powerful way to get people and organizations moving— when it's needed most. www.openspacemeetings.com A Tour Through Open Space
  4. 4. What will happen? We never know exactly what will happen when we open the space for people to do their most important work, but we can guarantee these results when any group gets into Open Space: www.openspacemeetings.com • Experiential, breakthrough learning • Appropriate structure and control • Open communication and a genuine sense of community • High play, high creativity, high efficiency, high productivity • Shared leadership and personal responsibility • Inspired performance and growth from within • Elimination of barriers to quickness, excellence and pride
  5. 5. ! New Products created ! Communication expanded—ideas move more quickly within the organization ! Informal networks developed—speed of dispersion ! Events reviewed—learning reinforced ! Patterns and relationships
 identified—opportunities recognized ! Experiences analyzed—shared learning ! Theories critiqued ! Observations shared ! Futures envisioned—possibilities
 explored ! Scenarios sharpened—clarity realized ! Assumptions tested—growth of ideas ! Issues explored ! Experiments attempted ! Products re-designed ! Plans drafted ! Possibilities discovered ! New ways to work invented and practiced ! Actions taken ! Ongoing invitations issued ! Responsible, intentional, self
 organization practiced actively and productively www.openspacemeetings.com On top of that you’ll see
  6. 6. You’re Invited… What ideas, thoughts, knowledge, challenges or passions do you have around these questions: • What is the strategy that all stakeholders in the organization can support and work together to create? • How can we re-ignite passion in our company and look forward to building a future that engages all? • What special knowledge, experience and expertise do you hold? How can your knowledge be enriched by your connection to others? This organization is not about hierarchy. We all have an ability to generate more knowledge and opportunity than ever before through a meeting process you’re invited to take part in on Thursday. It’s called Open Space. “Open Space is recognized internationally as an innovative approach to more productive meetings. Groups large and small (5-1000) regularly demonstrate the capacity to rapidly create effective meeting agendas and deal with highly conflicted and complex strategies. More remarkably, the meeting once created, is completely self-managed by the group. The observable role of the facilitator appears to be invisible. And that is just the beginning.” (New York Times).
 Our team is comprised of remarkable individuals, each maintaining a storehouse of knowledge and ideas. With business beginning to look more like the system’s thinking of biology than the traditional mechanistic view we’ve been brought up on, we’re in the midst of a fierce transition that’s both exciting and challenging. When our knowledge is shared, the very act of sharing multiplies it exponentially. Let’s make use of what’s here to the nth degree using Open Space. You’re invited to take the lead… The commitment to openness, passion and responsibility begins with the invitation process itself. Together we write a good invitation that lets everyone know that this meeting is intended to go beyond suggestions, recommend-ations, rubber-stamping, and past expectations. This meeting is for real responsibility, real learning, real action on the issue(s) at hand. The invitation speaks plainly about what's working, what's possible, and/or what's needed now in some area of real importance. It ann-ounces the theme (purpose or intention) for the gathering. It assures that the people who show up have real passion for the issue AND signals to them that the best outcomes are theirs to create. www.openspacemeetings.com It starts with an Invitation What ideas, thoughts, knowledge, challenges or passions do you have around these questions:
 • What is the strategy that all stakeholders in the organization can support and work together to create? • How can we re-ignite passion in our company and look forward to building a future that engages all?…
  7. 7. Welcome and invitation restated The client sponsor welcomes the group and restates the Invitation— written and sent prior to the Open Space Event—which tells why we’re gathered. www.openspacemeetings.com
  8. 8. The Open Space Facilitator opens the space by describing the process and sharing the Principles and Law of Open Space. The chairs are set up in concentric circles so there is no head and no foot. Open Space works because it deletes hierarchy and has everyone doing the Dance of Leader and Follower. www.openspacemeetings.com Opening the Space
  9. 9. The 4 Principles and 
 The Law of Two Feet These are the guiding principles that make Open Space work. The Law of Two Feet says “If you’re not learning or contributing where you are… MOVE ON!” Unlike most meetings, it’s rude to stay if you want or need to be somewhere else. www.openspacemeetings.com
  10. 10. Posting Topics Based on the overall Invitation topic, participants post any thoughts, ideas, questions, passions as conversation topics that in minutes becomes the meeting agenda. Thus, people talk about what they’re most passionate about and willing to take responsibility for. www.openspacemeetings.com
  11. 11. Topics are posted on the wall titled the Marketplace of Ideas and everyone checks it out to decide what is of interest to them. A Post-It Note is placed on each topic which tells meeting place and time. This way people know where and when to find the topics they’re most passionate about. www.openspacemeetings.com Marketplace of Ideas
  12. 12. Convener’s Notes Open Space Convener’s Notes Page Topic: Convener’s Name: Participants Names: (pass around the circle) Summary Notes: • • • Please hand in/type up when you’re done. When you post a topic—and you can post more than one—you are considered the Convener. This means you open the conversation and let whomever comes join in. Could be 2 people, could be 50. As the Convener, you’re responsible for the meeting Notes. These notes ensure that those who didn’t sit in, can see what happened and talk to other participants about it later. www.openspacemeetings.com
  13. 13. Small Group Topics Because of limited time, several topics are convened simultaneously, each lasting from 1/2 hour to 1 hour or longer. This is where The Law of Two Feet comes in—only you know where you can learn and contribute the most. Go where the spirit moves you. When people talk about what they want to talk about, when they want to talk about it, with others who are as passionate as they are, they will move mountains. www.openspacemeetings.com
  14. 14. Notes and Newsroom After each session of small group conversations, the Convener types the summary notes into a computer. At the end of the day all session notes are printed and a copy is handed to every participant. Notes can then be placed on a website, social media or emailed as well. www.openspacemeetings.com
  15. 15. Evening News At the end of the day, participants gather back in the full circle to share a few words on what the day brought for them, and where they want to take it from here. It gives a great sense of how the day went. People are ALWAYS energized. www.openspacemeetings.com
  16. 16. Action—Keeping Momentum After the closing circle, participants re-post new topics that are purely action oriented —in other words, what are you willing to take responsibility for setting into motion. One last round of conversations take place, lasting only about 15 minutes. The where’s and when’s of follow-up meetings are discussed. These quick conversations address who else should be invited going forward and what needs to happen before then. This ensures ongoing action after the day and brings Open Space principles into the organization. www.openspacemeetings.com
  17. 17. The Report Open Space Report Your Organization Date All Convener’s Notes are gathered, and in most cases, typed in and printed onsite. (Although in smaller groups, the handwritten notes are copied.) In a short time, the most important ideas, discussions, data, recommendations, conclusions, questions for further study, and plans for immediate action are documented in one comprehensive report which is given to everyone. These Notes pages come together to give you the fastest, most comprehensive report on where your organization is, where it wants to go and the ways for it to be accomplished by the entire group. Results from the comprehensive report can be made available to an entire organization or community within days of an event, so every stakeholder is invited to take action immediately. www.openspacemeetings.com
  18. 18. Open Space Soundbites " Rockport Shoes® held a company-wide Open Space meeting based on the invitation: “Where does our company aspire to for the future and how do we get there in ways that are inspired and fulfilling?” That day they ended up discovering a new product idea from a very unlikely source—their security guard. The product line netted $18 million the first year. " Wesley Urban Ministries in Hamilton, Ontario, adopted Open Space as the basis for organizing and managing their 200-person staff. With Open Space, they increased services delivered by 50%, with no added resources while turnover measured exactly 0%, in an environment known for high stress and burnout. " Astra Zeneca® Pharmaceutical used a 1-day Open Space to energize a high performing team— seriously impacting the bottom line of a top customer. " AT&T fast-tracked 10-months of design and planning work into ONE 2-day contractor summit when they were offered the opportunity to build their pavilion in the center of the Olympic Village in Atlanta. With only 6 months before opening day, a diverse group of contractors (with lots of difficult history) entered Open Space. They emerged two days later with a new design, and a full set of working drawings, and managed to have quite a bit of fun in the process. The AT&T executive in charge of the project called it "magic." “Open Space is, far and away, the most cost-effective way of getting people, information, and spirit moving in an organization.”—BP “If you want to get the impossible done, use Open Space. Period.”— University of Chicago, 
 Graduate School of Business “Open Space gets people passionate about their work again, which is good for every aspect of the company.”— Washington Homes www.openspacemeetings.com
  19. 19. Many thanks to • Michaël Molenaar, Tilburg - Netherlands—For the excellent photos E-Mail: michael@syst.nl 
 • Michael Herman, Chicago—Friend and Open Space Man Extraordinaire E-Mail: mherman@globalchicago.net • Larry Petersen, Toronto—Larry Petersen and Assoc. E-Mail: larry@spiritedorg.com • Harrison Owen, Maryland—Open Space Founder E-Mail: owenhh@mindspring.com • And to all the phenomenal Open Space colleagues around the world who are creating inspired organizations and communities with open hearts and open minds. Thank you for the ongoing conversations on the OS List www.openspaceworld.org www.openspacemeetings.com www.collaborativeawareness.com
 Maureen K. McCarthy & Zelle Nelson (+1) 847.859.9046 2021 Greenville Hwy., Flat Rock, NC, 28731, USA conversations@collaborativeawareness.com

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