Open Space Forum

Today we facilitated our first full Open Space Forum. Have been itching to use this format with our clients for the past couple of years. We had adapted Open Space on a couple of earlier occassions yet today is our first fully functional Open Space event.

It was a huge success. Wow what a way to tap into collective wisdom. My only regret as facilitator was that I didn’t have time to get involved in any of the conversations, but I overheard snippets as I kept things rolling and on track and what I heard was mind blowing.

In this day of technology driven communciation it is refreshing and invigorating to see good, old fashioned conversation carry the day and that was feedback from one of those there.

Open Space is a scary process as there is no formal structure and its no place for control freaks or those with ‘anal’ characteristics. Its a place where you take a risk. Geez ten minutes prior to it scheduled start I didnt even know how many people would be there or if there would even be enough for it to proceed. At one point it looked like we would have to resort to Plan B, a facilitated round table discussion. But those that believed came along and in the end we had the numbers to generate a good set of discussions, many of which continued way past their expected time slot.

Everyone commented positively on the experience. Its easy to forget how productive conversation can be.

The next task is to take the mountain of flip chart sheets and begin to decipher and analyse and use the feedback as part of our report back to our client.

Open Space you gotta use it. Call me, love to organise and facilitate Open Space for you next time.


About John Coxon

Principal consultant for John Coxon & Associates, a management consultancy working with boards and management teams in healthcare, aged care and not for profit organisations to develop effective strategic planning processes and social enterprise business plans
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