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What is Open Space (Technology) ?




Open Space is a method of organisation and moderation of meetings of large groups of people. It was invented by Harris Owen in 1983. Open Space conferences host usually from 50 to 250 participants.




Open space is a method of starting a dialogue and teamwork, collecting ideas and working out solutions. The sessions may constitute a subject-oriented conference themselves or be a part of a majority of other events.




All topics are allowed. There is no imposed form of proceedings. Participants learn about the conference subject, aims and rules in the process. The participants design the programme and set topics for discussion. Every participant can choose the topic they want to discuss and further work on.






Open Space as a part of the wider social project




The participants and their environment often do not have a direct influence on decisions and actions which influence them. As a result they do not participate in public life and their potential stays unrealised. Open Space moderation rules give every participant an opportunity to have their say. Everyone is encouraged to call a spade a spade, talk on what is important for them, what they are willing to take responsibility for and want to work on with the others.




The method offers an opportunity to define first measures for the future and give some guarantee that the project will not limit itself to a discussion, but will have some real effects. It gives rise to additional motivation that comes from participation in self-organised groups. Effects of conferences last beyond the main event and influence the options and real life actions of the participants.




Our Open Space conferences are a form of a dialogue between representatives from a single or many social environments that share the same problem. Issues that were discussed during our conferences for public sector institutions and NGO's are:

  • youth participation in the public life (as before)
  • a vision of the future education system
  • tolerance in the modern society
  • women’s participation in the sciences






Our experience




We have conducted a few dozen Open Space conferences in Europe for public sector organizations, local governments and private companies, among others.






Conference outcomes




  • Participants will submit and discuss about 20-30* topics
  • Participants will create about 10-15* solutions and ideas for the future, and prepare a list of measures aimed at their execution
  • A contact list of participants will be created and distributed among them to facilitate  future communication
  • Discussion and conclusions will be summarised in writing, copied and distributed among participants
  • The conference efficiency will be evaluated
  • Information about the conference will be provided to media and via press articles to the public
  • * with 100 or more participants during a one-day conference






For more information on Open Space Conferences and Seminars please contact Mrs. Agnieszka Pawlik at ap [AT] tomasznowak.com



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