Desert Conversation Community



Values &

The Process

About OST

About the ISI

About the DCC

What is Open Space Technology?

OST isn't 'technology' in the common definition of the word. It is more a process framework that supports a systemic perspective and provides an environment in which we can experience being and participating in an open, self-organizing, hopefully evolutionary system.

Opening Space allows all participants of a conversation to participate fully and take responsibility for creating personal and collective value. It's purpose is to create an environment where a group can become a "self-organizing system" without rigid rules, goals, or procedures. All participants create the 'agenda' for the event in the first hour through an invitation to propose 'topics' or 'issues' within the main "theme" of the conversation. These 'topics' are then explored and addressed throughout the event in a creative and organic way.

The Open Space has four fundamental principles of process and one "rule" which guide the entire process:

The Four Principles

  1. Whoever comes are the right people.
    We need the people who care. If you propose a topic or issue and nobody comes, it might be a bad idea, or just bad timing. You might be the only one who knows enough to deal with a topic or issue or see its importance. You can take it as just another piece of information, spend time on it yourself or move on
  2. Whatever happens is the only thing that could have
    Be prepared to be surprised, it would be very dull if everything always went as expected. Forget coulda, woulda and shoulda and go with the flow of what is here and now
  3. Whenever it starts is the right time
    Spirit and creativity don't run on the clock
  4. When it's over it's over
    if you finish your topic in ten minutes, don't rehash it for another 50...move on. When it's not over, it's not you might have to move, but don't have to end.

The Law of Two Feet

You have the right and the responsibility to use your two feet to go wherever you need to in order to maximize your own learning and contributing today.

  • If you're not learning or contributing...go someplace else -- don't waste time.
  • Means if you aren't enjoying where you are, it's totally your choice to stay or move on
  • Law is death to egotists and speechmakers
  • Creates bumblebees who cross-pollinate and butterflies who create space to just be

The Four Principles and the Law of Two Feet are found at the various Open Space web sites. If you want more information about the fundamental philosophies, principles and the practice of Open Space Technology, you can browse their web site (for days!)

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