Open Space Workshops [S]
Open Space Workshops are based on the idea that people will step forward to lead conversations about issues they really care about. Participants set the agenda, decide the length of the event (generally between one to three days) and the outcomes. Four principles apply:
- Whoever comes are the right people
- Whatever happens is the only thing that could have
- Whenever it starts is the right time
- When it’s over, it’s over.
In addition to these four principles, the ‘law of two feet’ applies - people have the right and responsibility to walk away if they are disinterested.
Step by Step Approach: The key steps are as follows:
- Introduction - People sit in a circle and the facilitator explains the purpose of the event and the process that will be followed.
- Opening circle - Participants are invited to identify issues they want to lead workshops on. They write their issue on a sheet of paper with their name ('My name is.... My issue is ......') and place their sheet on the wall.
- Signing up - Everyone gathers round the sheets and signs up for the workshops that they want to take part in
- Workshop sessions – Workshop sessions take place. Results are recorded as a simple list of the actions required (and by whom), and posted on the wall
- Open session – General discussion and debate back in the main group, followed by final statements
- Report circulated - This should contain the action points and lead person, to allow everyone who took part to reflect on the actions identified and make them happen.