The principles of open space

The extraordinary changes we are experiencing today require different modes of working with others to get things done.  Many meetings today are conducted by an "expert" who organizes the whole affair and controls the environment for collaboration.

I liken this to a tuning fork.  The leader sets the tone for the gathering and facilitates the process so that those in attendance can accurately tune in to the agenda. When everyone (hopefully) harmonizes with the leader, the meeting is deemed a success.

Today's collaborative gatherings are becoming more like drum circles.  One person, usually the leader, begins the beat and those in attendance begin to harmonize with it. As each participant contributes their beat and finds a harmonizing element, the meeting becomes organically viable, and things get done. 

An open space meeting is a generic term describing a wide variety
of different styles of collaborative meetings in which participants define the agenda
with a relatively rigorous process, and may adjust it as the meeting
proceeds (like a drum circle). The following are the four principles of open space meetings. Notice there is no agenda (tuning fork). Sounds refreshing. Try it sometime and see how it goes…

  1. Whoever comes is the right people
  2. Whatever happens is the only thing that could have happened
  3. Whenever it starts is the right time
  4. When it’s over, it’s over

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