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Open Space Technology

Recreate informal exchanges by offering spaces for open conversation



The “Open Space” technology allows participants to create their own meeting agenda, based on a main theme. This technique makes it possible to engage people and ensure that the topics covered are the right ones, in the sense that they are important enough for participants to want to discuss and act on them.


Time required: 45 minutes per conversation slot


Key steps

  1. Introduction
    As a facilitator, you explain to the group the issue or theme they are invited to reflect on. At this time, you also present the Open Space operating principles, namely:

This introductory time is also an opportunity to talk to them about totem animals and the “law of two feet” or “law of mobility” that governs the Open Space Technology: if a participant finds themselves in a situation where they no longer contribute or learn, then they move on to another space of conversation or move from conversation to conversation.

Totem animals, an invitation to be yourself

During an Open Space, two types of profiles emerge among the participants that can be summarised as follows:

  1. Agenda planning (15 minutes)
    Individually, participants reflect on an idea that is important to them in relation to the set issue or theme, write it on an A4 sheet and then stick it on the agenda, explaining it quickly if necessary/possible.

These ideas become topics and make up an agenda.

The person who proposed the idea may or may not lead the conversation about it in the space they choose. A subject can also be present without a dedicated leader.

  1. Exploration (30 to 45 minutes per slot)
    Start the first conversation slot: conversations are free (without predetermined questioning) and take place simultaneously in the different spaces.

Remind participants that they can move between different conversations (cf. totem animals and the law of both feet)

  1. Harvest (10 min)
    Shortly before the end of the first slot, you distribute a harvest canvas to facilitate a recap for the rest of the group.
  2. Then start the second slot, during which the exploration (3) and harvesting (4) phases are repeated.
  3. Then lastly start the third slot, during which the exploration (3) and harvesting (4) phases are repeated.
  4. At the end of the various slots, one spokesperson per topic presents the highlights of the discussion to the group.
  5. Commitment to individual and collective action
    Following the various presentations, it is advisable to leave some free time for participants to question, add to and identify as contributors to the emerging initiatives that have spoken to them, in the spirit of the marketplace method.

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