Open Space

Objective: To allow all kinds of people to organize and participate in creative meetings and events, to address one or more complex issues a larger group of people is facing and to create a common ownership of the outcomes, of the process as well as of the event (

"Open Space is a meeting framework that allows an unlimited number of participants to form their own discussions around a central theme. Open Space events have a central theme around which participants identify issues for which they are willing to take responsibility for running a session. At the same time, these topics are distributed among available rooms and time-slots. When no more discussion topics are suggested, the participants sign up for the ones they wish to take part in. Open Space creates very fluid and dynamic conversations that are bound through a mutual enthusiasm for the topic. It is good for harnessing the creativity that is stifled by more structured forms of meetings, but in cases where participants are used to the latter, a trained moderator can be useful. Open Space can create new forms of working relationships, for example, cross-functional collaboration, self-managing teams, community building, conflict resolution, strategy development and implementation.

The fundamental principles of Open Space are:

  • Whenever it starts is the right time: Open Space encourages creativity both during and between formal sessions.
  • When it's over it's over: Getting the work done is more important than adhering to rigid schedules.
  • Whatever happens, happens: Let go of your expectations and pay full attention to what is happening in the moment.
  • There is one "Law", the "Law of two feet": If participants find themselves in a situation where they are not learning or contributing they have a responsibility to go to another session, or take a break for personal reflection.

It is vital that there are good written reports from all discussions, complete with action points, available at the end of each day. Feedback and implementation structures are important to carry the suggestions forward after the event itself" (

Participation level Target groups Number of participants Duration/Timeline Implementation Frequency Budget
Consultation Any More than 300 Up to a week Live event Any Low
Organizational requirements:
  • Moderator/Facilitator for each session
  • Room(s) and chairs depending on the size of the group
  • Microphones (for large groups)
  • Education about the procedure of the activity before the actual activity taking place
  • Education about the topic before the actual activity taking place
  • Project management/Event organization
  • Protocol/Documentation