The ‘Open Space’ method was first developed by Harrison Owen. He had the idea for this method after a conference. He realised that the really important topics were talked about in the coffee breaks and often with more enthusiasm than in the official program.
An Open Space conference is organised according to a given subject and follows a specific scenario. With regards to content it stays open and the general theme is clear. The participants can bring in content themselves or raise questions about the relevant topics. They are free to choose which workshops they attend and also whether they remain as silent observers or quietly leave. This approach helps people to be more active. The participants write up the results of their workshops. As the conference progresses the results are made accessible to all the participants via photos and reports. This ensures that everyone is fully aware of other discussions.
Especially suitable for large groups. Can be used for 8 to 1,000 people. It is better to have more process leaders for larger groups.