Some weeks ago i had the luck to get some experience with the open space method, which was very useful for further set up of workshops with customer or in-house.
It lasted one and a half days, which seems to be a kind of standard time frame.
The step by step organization works like this:
- in our case everybody in the company was invited to come
- the overall topic for these 1,5 days was written on a huge paper sticked on a main wall – that everybody keep it in mind
- all persons who had an idea for a discussion, could explain his topic to the audience and then stick it to a timeslot and a room
- the schedule gets fuller and fuller and then we started the sessions
- as a session/ discussion initiator you will fill the protocol during the session, which will be part of an open space book at the end of these 1,5 days for all participants
- as a visitor of a session you can stay all time or leave a session and go to another one, which is more interesting for you
Now something about my personal experiences:
In the beginning I thought: what a chaotic format is this. It surely will be nice to stay these 1,5 days with my colleagues but we will never ever come to results of some value. I was complete wrong.
It was a very intensive work atmosphere all time long, because every session maker was inspired by his topic and all session participants felt this spirit as well.
All topics of relevance were discussed in these sessions. There were no topic missing. Because of the broad interests of the about 40-50 people the sessions covered a broad range of relevant themes. And additional: also in the sessions all relevant topics were discussed. Fascinating. No idea, no relevant thought got lost.
We had two professional moderators, which only explained the method in the beginning and then let us run. And yes, it worked for itself.
At the end everybody had the feeling, that he understood which items are relevant overall, what were the different views on a topic and one got ideas for handle some of these question marks from the beginning of the open space workshop.
Cool method … to get bigger groups in a working atmosphere, check their personal landscapes against each other and open space for working on these topics long time after the sessions will be over.
Check it out.