Is Open Space Technology Pure?

Posted by Doc
Jan 20 2009

As an Open Space Facilitator, I’ve had a number of interesting revelations.

First of all, I’m surprised at how relatively few people actually know of Open Space.

Then, I’m surprised at how many who do know of Open Space actually know what it really is. For instance, an acquaintance was explaining it to someone else and said “it’s like the lunch at this conference where everyone talks about what’s interesting to them.” Well, sort of, but not really.

I’m surprised at how often I hear “Oh, that’s what Open Space is about? Cool! I love it!”

And I’m still workinh on understanding what people think are the differences between Open Space Technology, Unconference, and the event categories that are derivatives of one kind or another (Bar Camp, Foo Camp, Demo Camp,…).

When I facilitate an Open Space, I tend to go for the “pure” Open Space Technology approach. Why? Because I have seen it work over and over, and believe in it. It’s not the be-all-and-end-all. It’s an approach/technique/technology that works for what it works for (which is definitely not “everything”).

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