Open Space in Organizations

Credential Earned: OLN-OPENSPACE1 (Open Space Technology Level 1)

Course Overview

Businesses of all kinds are coming to realize that self-management is what actually scales, and Open Space Technology is what actually delivers. Self-managed teams are essential in any organization that wants to become an Agile enterprise. Self-management across the enterprise leads to higher performance, much higher levels of employee engagement, and much more innovation.

Self-managed teams are essential in any organization that wants to become an Agile enterprise. And so the the key question becomes:

How can you as a leader quickly encourage and manifest more of the following?

  • improved results and revenues
  • lower expenses and costs
  • more employee engagement,
  • more innovation and
  • much more business Agility?

Open Space Technology is the answer to this question. Much more than a meeting format, Open Space Technology has the power to transform your entire organization.

With Open Space, you will experience:

  • A big increase in levels of employee engagement
  • Real self-management that can actually scale across your entire enterprise
  • Much more innovation — by creating the fertile conditions necessary for innovation to appear

Open Space Technology is an essential aspect of any “Agile at Scale” program because it engages everyone in the process of changing.

This course in Open Space fundamentals teaches you how to arrange and execute Open Space events in organizations.

The course teaches the concepts and facilities of the Open Space meeting format to an intermediate level of depth. You will learn how to arrange and execute Open Space events inside organizations. You’ll learn the deeper reality of Open Space. You’ll learn how to deliver Open Space in face-to-face and online, using live real-time video to create a rich interactive experience.  Finally, as an executive or a practitioner, you will learn how to leverage the Open Space meeting format to increase the overall performance of your organization in a rapid, genuine and lasting way. You exit this class ready to plan and deliver Open Space events in large rooms and also **online**.

Who Should Attend

  • Any leader in any organization that is struggling with complex and constant change
  • Leaders seeking great instruction in all of the Open Space fundamentals
  • Executives, directors, and managers who are seeking more employee engagement and innovation and are new to the Open Space process
  • Coaches and consultants who serve organizations seeking genuine improvement and more innovation
  • Company leaders who want to implement OpenSpace Agility (or any other change-innovation program) as rapidly & effectively as possible

A Note For Those Considering OpenSpace Agility:

The OpenSpace Agility (OLN-OSA1) Workshop is an 8-hour course that assumes you are genuinely fluent in the fundamentals of Open Space.

If you have limited experience with Open Space, you need to take this class before attending OpenSpace Agility (OSA) training. 

The OpenSpace Agility (OSA1) Workshop assumes you are fluent in Open Space.

If any of the descriptions below sound like your situation and experience, then you definitely want to attend the OST1 (Open Space Technology Fundamentals) class AHEAD OF attending the OSA Workshop:

Does this sound like you?

1. I have never planned or facilitated an Open Space event

2. I have participated in an Open Space event at an Agile conference or some other conference, but:

  • If there was a Theme, it was vague and not easy to remember now, or…
  • I do not recall actually receiving an Invitation to the event, or…
  • I have participated in Open Space at Agile (or other) conferences, but I do not recall who the Sponsor or Host actually was, or…
  • I have participated in Open Space at Agile (or other) conferences,  but I never did not receive Proceedings, or the Proceedings I did receive were of poor quality, or…

3. I have never participated in a private Open Space event inside an organization, or

4. I am very curious about these qualifying questions about the Sponsor, Host, Theme, Invitation and Proceedings since these aspects of Open Space are new to me

If any of these descriptions sounds like you, then you need to attend THIS Workshop before attending the OpenSpace Agility Workshop.


This is a full-day class and is 8 hours when delivered online. Online sessions are typically from 2 hours to 3 hours in duration. See the Schedules for specifics on this.


  • Considering Open Space in Context
    • The Open Space story
      • Open Space origins & the Open Space definition
      • Unconference and BarCamp: derived from Open Space
    • Benefits of using Open Space
    • Ideal conditions for using Open Space
    • When NOT to use Open Space
  • Overview: Using Open Space in an *Agile* context
    • Agile conferences and Agile retrospectives
    • Conferences: Are the conditions for Open Space actually present?
    • Open Space for Agile Retrospectives
    • Key differences between Open Space in a public conference, compared to a private Open Space event inside an organization
    • Enterprise Wide use of Open Space in Agile transitions: OpenSpace Agility
    • Dynamic development-team composition: FAST AGILE
  • The Dynamics of Invitation
    • Respect for People
    • Sending and Receiving
    • Responding
    • Leading with invitation
    • Invitation and Self-Management
    • Passion and Responsibility
  • Open Space Defined
    • Core Definition
      • Sit in a circle
      • Create a Bulletin Board
      • Open a Marketplace
      • Go to Work
    • The Five Principles
      • Whoever comes is the right people
      • Whenever it starts is the right time
      • Whatever happens is the only thing that could have
      • When it’s over, it’s over
      • Wherever it is, is the right place
    • The One Law
      • The Law of Two Feet
    • But Wait: There’s More…
      • “Be prepared to be surprised”
      • Bumblebees: go from session to session.
      • Butterflies: don’t go to ANY sessions!
    • Open Space Posters for the Wall (entirely optional; there are 9 suggestions for these)
  • Emergence, Emergent Leadership and Self Organization
    • Leadership
    • Emergence
    • Emergent Leadership
    • Self-Management vs Self Organization
  • Open Space Roles, Events and Artifacts
    • Open Space Roles: Sponsoring Host, The Facilitator, The Participants
      • Conveners, “Bumblebees” and “Butterflies”
    • Open Space Artifacts
      • The Invitation with Theme
      • The Bulletin Board and Marketplace
      • The Session Reports (input to Proceedings) and the Newsroom
      • The Proceedings
    • Open Space Events
      • The Theme Development/Definition Meeting
      • The Sending and Receiving of Invitation
      • The Opening Circle
      • The Individual Sessions
      • The Closing Circle
      • The sending and receiving of the Proceedings document
  • Planning and Arranging an Open Space event
    • Check that Supporting Conditions are Present
    • Working With Leaders
    • Selection and Choice of Facilitator
  • Socializing the Event
    • Developing the Theme; options
    • Developing and Sending the Invitation
    • Who gets the invite?
    • Handbills and posters in common areas (hallways, kitchens etc)
  • Configuring the Event
    • Room Limitations and Tailoring to Fit
      • Selecting From Available Session/Meeting Spaces
    • Opening Circle Seating & Capacity
    • Posters
    • Bulletin Board
    • Marketplace
    • News Room
    • Food
    • Setting Up for the Event
    • Materials List
  • Delivering the Event
    • Setting Everything up
    • Putting the Theme on the Wall
    • Newsroom Setup and Preparation
    • Ambiance
    • The Opening Circle
    • The flow of the day
    • The Closing Circle
  • Internals of Open Space Facilitation
    • Being “Totally Present and Completely Invisible”
    • What to do When Someone is Trying to “Close Some Space” During the Event
    • Where You Get Your Authority to “Hold Space”
    • Being Authentically Present
    • Creating and Holding Time and Space
    • Control
    • One Less Thing to Do
  • Details: Open Space in an Agile context
  • Details: Tales from Open Space (real events, real people. Be prepared to be surprised!)
  • Delivering Open Space **Online**
    • Differences and Similarities Between Online and Traditional Conferences
      • Leveraging the online (video) medium
    • Tools and Tooling for Delivering Online
    • Examples of online events with Proceedings
    • Checklist for online Open Space
    • Summary
  • Advanced Topics
    • Holding Space
    • Authority and Authorization in Open Space
      • Of the Sponsor
      • Of the Facilitator
      • Of the Participants and Members
      • On Authority and “Holding Space”
    • Open Space as Game: Goals, Rules, Progress Tracking, OPT IN Participation
    • Open Space and Liminality
    • Open Space as Ritual

What You Will Learn

  • Understand when and when not to use Open Space in your situation.
  • Learn the ideal requirements of Open Space
  • Understand how to use Open Space with in the context of a transition to “Agile.”
  • Learn how to prepare leaders and executives for the Open Space experience
  • Know the series of steps for arranging an Open Space event
  • Learn how to prepare the physical room for Open Space event
  • Understand the fundamentals of Open Space facilitation
  • Gain familiarity with the concept of “holding space”
  • Get a clear understand of the flow of an Open Space event through time from beginning to ending of each day
  • Understand how to facilitate multi-day Open Space event
  • Learn how to guide executives and Sponsors through the processing of the Proceedings **after** the event
  • Learn how to handle very large (300++) person Open Space events
  • Understand how to deliver Open Space events **online** using ZOOM video

Takeaway Materials

  • Books and Bibliography
  • Detailed Checklists for Leadership Preparation, Preparation of Physical Spacer, Facilitator preparation, and Event Delivery
  • Samples of Actual Open Space Themes with Written Invitations
  • Samples of Actual Proceedings Output

This course contains everything you need to do a good job with Open Space the first time you arrange it inside your organization.

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