What’s up by Guido Martini

If you have never experienced an Open Space Technology (OST), you’ll never know what you’ve been missing!

Suppose you have to join a planning meeting with your colleagues, the number of participants is unimportant, let’s say a varying group between 5 to 100 different people. And suppose now instead of taking part to a typical meeting, you are welcomed by someone who is going to ask you to sit in circle and who explains you that your meeting won’t follow an agenda, Actually the agenda will be created by all of you, together.
How? In a very simple way. Anyone and everyone who is willing to suggest a proposal argument, that he is really keen on, has to stand up to introduce it to the group and take responsibility to follow the developing discussion. When all the proposals opened have been exhausted, all different arguments will clearly appear to everybody in the group, who will then co-create the agenda, following parallel discussion sessions.

Sessions are based on 4 principles:
1) Whoever comes is the right people
2) Whenever it starts is the right time
3) Whatever happens is the only thing that could have
4) When it’s over, it’s over;
and one single rule “The Law of two feet”, if you realize you are neither learning nor contributing in any way to a discussion, then stand up and move to another one where you can be more productive.

In a global context where vertical decisional processes and tendency to control are demonstrating to be completely ineffective and inappropriate tools to manage people and to create valuable work within business organizations, this methodology apparently seems to be surprising at the very beginning and lacking in well-defined procedures, but it reveals then to be absolutely effective! It is actually based on the concept that a self-organizing system of persons can follow such all natural dynamics which are not even perceived by the participants, who are not bound to or blocked by pre-established frameworks and instead of that, they can interact and produce new knowledge flows.

The value provided within this new flow is enormous, just because it is only guided by all participants’ passion, real interest and sense of responsibility. I personally do believe that OST as enabling people, collective intelligence and co-creation is a surprisingly effective methodology to create valuable work within a group or an organization.

So, let’s keep the space Open!


This article was first published in our Cocooners N° 2


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