Open Space Technology is a different kind of conferencing which has no keynote speakers, no pre-announced schedules of workshops and no panel discussions. Instead participants are seated in a large circle and learn how they are going to create their own conference. Open Space Technology is based on the premise that participants take responsibility for their inputs, and because it is they who self organise and decide the discussion topics, there is much greater enthusiasm, engagement and commitment to the conference and its outputs.
An Open Space Technology event is suitable for a group of 50 to 500 people and is particularly effective when situations include a diverse group of people who must deal with complex and potentially conflicting issues in innovative and productive ways. Open Space creates an environment for people to be self-motivated, creative and collaborate with others, around issues that concern them deeply.
The event usually takes place over two to three days. During the course of the conference there is much intense dialoguing among participants and a community spirit usually develops. The whole process may look chaotic, but it is fun, engaging and productive.