I first encountered Open Space back in the early 1990s at a four day open space on The Future of Management Development. It was held at the idyllic Isle of Thorns in Sussex and was facilitated by Jack Martin Leith. Four days! Open space’s spirit resonated with me deeply and was in line with my own developing thinking and practice of emergent change and transformation. I’m a lifelong fan of spontaneity, so open space struck a chord.
Since then I’ve facilitated open spaces in the UK, Scandinavia, the United States, Ireland and Central/Eastern Europe, in the public, private and voluntary sector. I’ve helped to create and facilitate about 60 Open Space events, including The World Fringe Congress, The Critical Incident, A NATO workshop in Slovenia on Technosophy, events on change management and leadership with GN Netcom and Novozymes, an Open Space for a University Professoriat, and events for the Digital Workplace Forum and Intranet Benchmarking Forum, and quite a few others!
I’ve also been fusing open space with a range of different emergent meeting methods and approaches. For me the ground rules are not fixed, and the “principles”have and should have musical, watery, and air qualities. There need to flex with the emergent reality. Looking for one less thing to do has been an enduring quality to my approach to open space, and I once opened a circle in about fifty seconds.
I’m open to vibrant and open-minded and open-hearted conversation about open space, emergent change, and how open space is changing with the times and the spirit of the age.
Over the years I have developed my own versions of Open Space. Open Space embodies several archetypes that lie beyond it and inspire ever new forms of emergence.
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