Open Space Technology
Real conversations Real connections Real solutions
Benefits Open Space Technology (OST) is a form developed to support groups to self-organise and collaborate around any question of shared concern. It is particularly effective in dealing with complex issues where diverse and conflicting views are present, and in encouraging communication between multiple stakeholders and departments in large institutions. Over the last 25 years OST has been used across the world in an incredible range of contexts: to design aeroplane doors, resolve land disputes, address economic, environmental, social, political and artistic issues of every kind. Groups of six and of six hundred have used it with equal success.
THERE WAS A RUSH OF PEOPLE EAGER TO PUT THEIR IDEAS FORWARD. THE DAY WAS A HUGE SUCCESS - NEW COLLABORATIONS WERE FORMED AND IDEAS WERE SHARED... WE’LL DEFINITELY BE USING OPEN SPACE AGAIN. The Wellcome Trust, Engaging Science event
You should consider OST if you: • Have a complex problem that requires input from multiple points of view • Want to redesign organisational systems • Need better communication between teams or departments • Are going through big organisational change • Want to develop new ideas or projects as a group • Have a diverse range of stakeholders with whom you want to explore a common issue, problem, or topic • Have isolated groups of stakeholders who need to get to know each other better • Want more dynamic networking.
OPEN SPACE WAS THE ONLY WAY IN WHICH WE COULD BRING THE DIFFERENT GROUPS TOGETHER... ALTHOUGH THERE WERE DIFFICULT CONVERSATIONS OVER THE WEEKEND, IT WAS INCREDIBLY USEFUL. THANKS TO IMPROBABLE FOR EXPERTLY GUIDING US THROUGH. The Southbank Centre, Future of the Festival Wing Open Space event
Results This depends on your event aims, but you might find a solution to a companywide problem, improve communications between departments, work out a plan of action for change, or launch a new project. Some results we have seen coming out of our OS events include: • Changes of policy to improve productivity & communication • New networks and projects beginning • Greater community cohesion • Understanding and resolution around conflict situations • Shared vision and support around big changes.
Previous OST clients
How does it work? Open Space events allow participants to create the agenda collectively, on the day of the event itself. Following an invitation to attend that lays out the purpose of the meeting, participants start with an opportunity to raise the ideas, themes, questions or challenges they have identified in response. They timetable their proposed subjects, and then get to work. Participants are free to move around throughout the event, joining the conversations that are of most interest or relevance to them. They are also free to carry on informal conversations on the periphery, allowing for a flow of ideas and greater connectedness.
Everyone’s valuable time is used in the most efficient way, creating a sense of communal endeavour and group focus. Participants are responsible for generating reports of their conversations, and are encouraged to identify clear next steps or actions to be taken.
WHAT I LOVE MOST ABOUT OPEN SPACE IS THAT IT CREATES ACTION. IT’S SET UP TO GIVE PEOPLE THE SPACE, AND RESPONSIBILITY, TO DISCUSS WHAT REALLY MATTERS TO THEM, AND THEN SAYS “NOW DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!” Participant of Devoted & Disgruntled Open Space event
FAQ’s Here’s some basic practical information about our service, but please do drop us a line to find out more.
PRICE We offer a bespoke service, with a variety of optional, additional processes you may find helpful - from in-depth evaluation to preparatory idea-generating workshops. We price our service very competitively, and the fee includes planning and advise on all aspects of the event, from writing the invitation to where to put the beverages. Price will depend on the length of your event, how many participants you are planning for, and any additional services. We are very happy to talk through your needs and provide a quote. Just contact us via email or phone.
WHAT WE ASK YOU TO PROVIDE Open Space is a simple and low-fi process, but you will need to provide a suitable room, a bit of help to set up and basic refreshments throughout the event. We can advise on all of this, as well as helping you to write the invitation and focus question, which is at the heart of your Open Space event.
HOW MANY PEOPLE CAN ATTEND? We’ve held Open Spaces for as few as five people, and as many as 400. You’ll need to bear in mind the room available when planning the scale of the event as over-crowding can make it difficult for Open Space to function well.
ACCESS Access is hugely important to us as a company, and to OST as a process. We have developed a variety of ways to make the process accessible for those with physical disabilities, learning disabilities, and deaf people. We can happily advise and support you to make your event as accessible as possible to even the most diverse groups.
About Improbable & Open Space Improbable is a theatre company that has been creating innovative live work over the last two decades, playing a major part in creating and defining the vocabulary of contemporary British theatre.
events to a range of clients, helping these large and complex institutions to have a better conversation with themselves, and to find more efficient solutions to company-wide problems.
Weâ€™ve been using OST in our own creative process for over a decade, as well as holding an ongoing programme of large and small scale Open Space events for the theatre and arts community, under the banner of Devoted and Disgruntled.
Previous OST clients include the Academy of Medical Sciences, Museum of London, Wellcome Trust, the Southbank Centre, National Theatre of Scotland, Arts Council England, British Council, English National Opera, Birmingham Rep and JohnÂ Lewis.
Through OST we work directly with communities, facilitating them to address and take collective action on the issues that matter most to them. We have a long track record of providing Open Space
Contact information CALL
+44 (0) 20 7240 4556
Improbable West Wing Somerset House Strand London WC2R 1LA
VISIT www.improbable.co.uk www.devotedanddisgruntled.com
Company Reg. number: 08561272 Registered charity number: 1155695