Open Space

Open Space (aka Unconference) is a way to run meetings in a self-organizing manner with very little upfront planning.
The process involves these steps:

  • the meeting or session begins with participants sitting together
  • facilitator greets, explains laws, and introduces the theme
  • facilitator invites people (hosts) to come up with topics related to theme
  • hosts come to center and write topics and announce to the group
  • hosts choose a time and place and posts these details on a wall
  • the wall becomes the 'agenda'
  • participants refer to the wall and attend desired sessions
  • hosts should start a discussion with the participants
  • sessions are meant to be interactive
  • groups return to gathering area after the sessions
  • hosts share the key points discussed in their respective sessions with the whole group
  • that's it!

Four Principles

  • whoever comes are the right people
  • whatever happens is the only thing that could have happened
  • whenever it starts is the right time
  • when it's over, it's over

Law of Two Feet

"If at any time during our time together you find yourself in any situation where you are neither learning nor contributing, use your two feet. Go to some other place where you may learn and contribute."


The themes for the two Open Spaces at NZSCRSC2010:

  • Doing a PhD (Example topics: Writing papers, theses, proposals; Studying overseas: adapting to new cultures; Research collaborations; Presentation skills; Talking to non- technical people etc.)

  • Subject Areas (Example topics: Agile software development, Artificial Intelligence, Distributed Systems, Human Computer Interaction, etc.)


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Page Updated: 30 Dec 2009 by rashina. © Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, unless otherwise stated