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Open Space Technology: A User's Guide Paperback – January 1, 1997

ISBN-13: 978-1576750247 ISBN-10: 1576750248 Edition: 2nd

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 173 pages
  • Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers; 2nd edition (January 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1576750248
  • ISBN-13: 978-1576750247
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 0.5 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #463,753 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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It is easy to read and understand, and is easy to follow.
Michelle Collins
Its a powerful process I've used this book as a guide to help me facilitate many Open Space sessions.
Joe Brodnicki
After reading this book I'm ready to dive in and try Open Space myself.
Keith E. Webb

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Courtney L. Lewis on December 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
Harrison Owen, the creator of the facilitation concept of "open space", has written a fabulous user guide for anyone wishing to attempt this process. Not only does he outline in detail the nitty-gritty of effectively running a one to three day conference using this technique, but he also describes his own experience utilizing "open space". His stories are truly inspiring and do an excellent job of demonstrating the power of this method. I was especially impressed by the way he drew on several native american and west african philosophies to shape aspects of the facilitation.
Having participated in open space workshops, I had a good grasp of the idea and could easily picture what he described. For others who have not yet had that experience, reading another of his books, Tales from Open Space, might also be useful as it goes into more historical detail of the evolution of Owen's work and gives additional anecdotes.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Joe Brodnicki on December 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
When I particpated in my first Open Space, a friend told me to trust the process. At first glance, Open Space seems not to make a lick of sense or too "airy fairy" to work. Its a powerful process I've used this book as a guide to help me facilitate many Open Space sessions.
I highly recommend this book if you want to facilite Open Space---it provides many good ideas for before, during and after the session, covers when and when not to use Open Space, and gives the would-be facilitor the mind- and heart-set to facilitate Open Space well. I would not recommend faciltiating Open Space without first experiencing it.
I've used Open Space with churches, as a partnership-building experience, in organizational change, and in forming national government programs---in the right hands and at the right time, Open Space is a powerful process---this book gives you tools to facilitate it. Use it wisely and well!
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Format: Paperback
Organizing meetings can be a bit of an arduous task when the amount of participants reaches nearly two thousand. "Open Space Technology: A User's Guide" introduces a new concept for businesses to follow known as open space technology, where groups can self-organize in a short amount of time. To implement the technique into one's business, "Open Space Technology" lays out a step by step guide including all the resources one needs to get ideas off the ground. The third edition features a survey of open space technology's current usage around the world and an updated list of resources. A highly recommended book for both personal and community library business collections.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Rolf Dobelli HALL OF FAME on April 23, 2001
Format: Paperback
Harrison Owen presents a hands-on, step-by-step manual for putting on an open space technology workshop. In OST workshops, participants basically set and facilitate the agenda with some guidance from a facilitator. Here, the book's examples are particularly handy. Owen suggests conference duration, agenda and techniques including how to set up a meeting, invite participants, prepare the logistics and meeting site, facilitate activities and more. While these workshops generally involve hundreds of people, you can also put on an OST event with as few as five. If you want to read gripping business philosophy, look elsewhere - this is a practical how-to manual, a task it accomplishes quite well. We [...] recommend this informative guided tour of the OST process to those who want to know how, because they already know why
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 8, 1999
Format: Paperback
After reading this book, I attended an Open Space conducted by a trained facilitator. The results were fantastic! Just as described in this User Guide. It is easy to understand and captures the essential understanding necessary to conduct or participate in an Open space event.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 18, 2001
Format: Paperback
I recommend using open space tehcnology and/or other large scale intervention techniques to mine the collective emotional intelligence of a group of people (this may be your company, or people from an acadamic field you belong to).
This book gives you the details on HOW to organize and facilitate an open space meeting - (what kind of location you need, how to organize the room, how to use break up rooms, how to facilitate, ...). You'll also get imporatnt rules and lessons for making this technology work. In short, it's pretty good at doing this "HOW TO" part.
WARNING: If you want to know WHY it works and if you want some examples, there are 2 other books to take a look at:
- tales from Open space (Harrison Owen, Editor, 1995)
- Expanding our now (Harrison Owen, 1997)
Good luck!
Patrick E.C. Merlevede, MSc -- author of "7 Steps to Emotional Intelligence"
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Keith E. Webb VINE VOICE on February 21, 2010
Format: Paperback
How many conferences or seminars have you been to where the most stimulating parts were the coffee break discussions between sessions? Harrison Owen, the originator of Open Space Technology, designed a strategy to power the whole event with the passion and energy of coffee break discussions.

Open Space is a facilitation strategy that enables groups of 5 to 2000 to create their own agenda and self-organize to dialogue about the important issues of large complex theme. The event participants are invited to identify issues or challenges related to the larger theme that they have real passion for and for which they are willing to take responsibility. With this self-organized agenda, participants move into groups to work on literally dozens of issues in a safe, open environment. This collaboration turns into greater understanding, innovation, and action.

Open Space has been used in business, government, and the social sector in 134 different countries over the past 20 years. The beauty of Open Space is the simplicity of how it functions and results in engaging all participants with a voice in what they are passionate about and willing to work on. The philosophical roots of empowerment and self-organization in Open Space will be refreshing to those tired of a command and control style meeting.

This book is a complete guide to what Open Space is, how to determine if this approach is appropriate for your event, and details on how to successfully facilitate an Open Space event. The book is very engaging and readable. I'm new to Open Space so I wanted details, but I also wanted it quickly so I could understand the flow of the process.

After reading this book I'm ready to dive in and try Open Space myself.
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