Open Space

Wiki Technology to Capture Open Space Outcomes

­The CommunityMatters07 conference in Burlington, VT is over and we are back in Denver. Looking back, it was a successful conference and the Open Space session on Day 2 was a great way to discuss issues that couldn't be addressed during the presentations on Day 1 and to  learn from the diverse group of participants. 

″Open Space Technology is a process…that allows organizations, groupsand communities to operate with high levels of dialogue, passion andcommitment. It allows leadership and structure to emerge, stimulatesmeaningful planning and initiates inspired performance. In short, itstrips away all that is non-essential and invites people to operate inOpen Space.″

- Chris Corrigan, Open Space Facilitator

Open Space begins with a blank wall anda room full of thoughtful, engaged participants focused on achievingsimilar outcomes. Topics for discussion are placed on the wall,locations and times are determined, and the day’s agenda slowly beginsto take shape. Participants decide where they can learn and contributethe most and make their way accordingly. Discussions begin and notesare captured in an online wiki or through other mechanisms. Over thecourse of the day, new ideas and initiatives emerge and evolve. At theend of the Open Space, participants put forth next steps as ideas arecarried forth and new projects are set in motion.

Like last year, we used Wiki technology to capture outcomes of the small-group discussion and make the available via the conference website. We used the dozen of laptops we have to support our eMeetings and had each group assign a notetaker, who captured the ongoing conversations as they happened. Participants were able to revisit the outcomes and make changes where needed for a few days after the conference. The final document will stay up on the conference website.

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