One of the questions I’m often asked is ‘how long does it take to open the space, get the agenda on the wall and open the marketplace’? the assumption seems to be that the more people you have, the longer it takes. It’s marginal really. My answer is almost always – 45 minutes.
One of the advantages of the OST process is that it gets people going quickly. I remember one open space event I participated in that took a very long two and a half hours to open. Apart from not being necessary, it was tedious and the participants became increasingly fractious. Is it any wonder! I think I’d find it really hard to stretch the opening for that long. There was also a really well organised grid on the wall indicating all the available rooms and spaces that the organisers had spent half the night preparing. Again, not necessary. I’m always reminded when I think I can improve on open space by ‘just doing x or y’ that the only ‘improvement’ open space needs is to ‘do one less thing’. This has become a mantra in all of my facilitation work now. It’s the embodiment of ‘trusting the group’ anyway.
If you’re going to be in Melbourne in mid-April and would like to learn about the nuts and bolts of using OST AND understand the philosophy underpinning open space, come along to our training. You can read all about it here.