From amongst the credible, verified large group meeting methods, currently summarized in The Change Handbook (Holman and Devane, 2007), we prefer Open Space Technology as the most open and most participative of these highly engaging methods. Birgitt Williams, senior consultant of Dalar International Consultancy, Inc was an early pioneer with Open Space Technology in the early 1990’s, participating actively in its development out into the world. At the time, she was the CEO of a multi-service social and health service in Canada. The organization achieved amazing results from its frequent use of this meeting methodology, a method created by Harrison Owen of Potomac, Maryland, USA. Birgitt was in the unique position of facilitating Open Space Technology meetings in her organization while simultaneously being accountable by the public for the results of the organization. Together with her staff team, they were the first organization to make frequent use of Open Space Technology meetings and document the results of multiple uses of this meeting method in an organization, and its effect in shifting the culture of the organization. They also were first to use Open Space Technology for very short meetings of three hours, although the method was originally designed to take place over two plus days. Birgitt realized that it was important to learn to work with Open Space Technology in an organization in such a way that the greatest long term harvest could be achieved from investing in an Open Space Technology meeting. To achieve this, she went beyond facilitating Open Space Technology meetings, which she does in the same way as taught by Harrison Owen in Open Space Technology: a user’s guide.
She developed the Genuine Contact way of working with Open Space Technology and thus included Working With Open Space Technology in the Genuine Contact program. Dalar International Consultancy, Inc will facilitate Open Space Technology meetings with as few as six people, to as many as six hundred people, anywhere in the world. Generally about six hours of planning time is needed, with some logistics follow up before the meeting; a debrief meeting with the sponsor after the meeting; and guidance for an accountability meeting regarding results to take place four to six months after the meeting.
What is Open Space Technology? download here
Bringing Open Space Technology into my Organization download here
If you are interested in learning more about the benefits and the learning module click here