Open Space Technology Overview

Open Space Technology is now being used in over 120 countries for spirited, self-organizing meetings and for engaging people and organizations in change processes.  Harrison Owen, the discoverer of the approach, led a workshop in Toronto in early 1990 after his first public use of Open Space in 1989 in Goa, India.  I have been practicing Open Space since then and am recognized as a leader in Canada and around the world in its theory and use.  I have led over 275 Open Space Events and more than 20 workshops and training programs.  I have published numerous articles and white papers.  I am a founder of the Open Space Institute of Canada and the World Wide Open Space network.

I have facilitated Open Space events in settings as diverse as the production facility of a major pharmaceutical and the annual meeting of a regional church body.  I have facilitated meetings of IT specialists, business executives, Government branches, health care transformation initiatives, national NGO leadership, the homeless, bankers, native Canadian communities, engineers, parents, teachers, youth and social service providers.  I have led events across Canada, the US & Hawaii and in Taiwan.  (See the Experience section of this website for further examples and results.)

If you have experienced an Open Space Technology meeting you likely understand that it can be a powerful, profound and productive approach to meetings.  Some experience it as magic.  Others find it confusing at first because it is not clear them how it works or sometimes what the linear results will be.  It is not appropriate in some situations.  However, the results can be exceptional breakthrough thinking, horizontal collaboration, a 15% increase in productivity and dramatic shift is positive corporate culture.  But, that is partly a matter of doing a good job in the necessary upfront planning for both the event and what happens after and that is where experienced facilitation adds value.

I have included here linked information that describes an Open Space Technology event in words and pictures.  Other links help you prepare for an Open Space event.  There are numerous stories and articles about its use.  As well, I have links to other World Wide Web sites that help you learn more about OST and the ongoing learning and research that is taking place.

Open Space Technology

A written description of what happens at an Open Space Event

A pictorial trip through an Open Space Technology Event, gleaned from a number of larger events. (The same process works for smaller groups as well.)

The key planning questions and logistical needs for OST events.

My Articles on Open Space

        Healthcare and Open Space Technology 2009

Important Web Site Links

        The "book" of reports and some ongoing discussions from Unleashing Leadership in Ourselves and Our Organizations is posted on the social networking site

Some Other Examples of Open Space Events


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Last modified: November 18, 2009