• Piyumi Kapugeekiyana

Open Space 'Technology'

Recently, I had an interesting conversation with someone about the value of Open Space Technology in running meetings and conferences. If you've never heard about this concept, Open Space meetings are participant-driven and conducted without an agenda. The trick lies in the preparatory framing—there is a certain amount of upfront planning to come up with a good theme that people can converge upon but beyond that, the meetings are largely self-organizing. For those used to structured discussions, the amorphous nature of Open Space can be unnerving but I've been told that the benefits are manifold.

What I like about Open Space is its low-fuss, high-impact potential. No one's trying to control the narrative and the floor is open for ideas.

Judge for yourself.

Open Space meetings are based on 4 principles...

  • Whoever joins 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.

...and 1 Law:

  • The Law of Two Feet (The Law of Mobility): If, during the course of the gathering, any person finds themselves in a situation where they are neither learning nor contributing, they can go to some more productive place.

Doesn't this seem like a great mental framework, even beyond the narrow confines of organizing meetings?

Trust, acceptance and flow form the crux of Open Space.

What would it look like if we used the 4 principles above, and the law of two feet, as a lens for life, relationships and work? How about as a tool for balancing planning with spontaneity? Perhaps as a prompt for removing yourself from people, situations and environments that no longer serve you?

It's a challenging thought exercise, but one that I'm trying to put into practice.


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