Open Space Technology

What is Open Space?

Open Space Technology (OST) is a workshop format that allows a group of people to work together on a common problem. Identify the key issues and characterize them in bounded time. The time frame of a workshop is typically but can be extended for complex issues. The group size is typically from 20 to 100 people, but can be expanded beyond this, with suitable planning. To run OST there must first be  a well defined problem statement. Then OST will allow a group of people to have all the conversations they need to have, to document all those conversations, to collaborate with all the right people, and to reach a shared consensus on the best way forward.

OST is an Open Source technology, originally invented by Harrison Owen in 1985. It  has since been successfully used throughout the world for over thirty years for workshops on subjects as diverse as international conflict, to technology problems, to discussions on new organizational solutions.

OST is  typically the  right solution when:

•           The topic or question is well defined in a single statement.

•           But no one knows the answer!

•           The problem is too complex for a small number of people to solve .

•           Involving people  in finding the solution is the right answer..

•           A group of people who do not normally meet  need to be brought together to solve the problem

•           Time pressure would necessitate moving away from the usual ways of working.

•           People are passionate about the outcome.

•           There is a sense of ownership for the problem and for the potential solution.

•           20-100 people, or more, are involved.

OST is NOT good when:

•           Someone knows the answer and is waiting for people to agree!

•           The problem can not be defined

•           There is no real will or passion to solve the problem.

•           OST is not ideal for less than 30 people in our experience.

•           There is no owner for the problem or for the solution.

Dr Stephen Hinde, has a PhD in psychology from the University of Bristol, UK. He has over 25 years experience as a manager and researcher in silicon valley computer companies. He is also is an experienced facilitator of workshops.

Previous clients include: Aardman Animation, Arts Council, Channel 4, Cornwall Film, Hewlett-Packard, Old Vic Theatre RBS, REACT, SATRE, South-West Film, Theatre Bristol, University of Bath, University of Bristol, Watershed.

In order to run a great OST workshop there is always a requirement for good preparation, a great event in the middle, and good follow-up in order to maximize the impact and relevance  of the workshop to your organization. We will tailor it to your needs and guide you through the whole life-cycle of the workshop.

Please contact us to discuss OST and a no obligation consultation to find out if OST is the right solution for your situation.

Contact (text/whatsapp/voice): +44 7803 18 37 47

E-Mail: Dr Stephen Hinde


© Stephen Hinde, January 2009, April 2019.

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