Skip Navigation

Open Spaces

Also called Unconferences, OpenSpace is a simple methodology for self-organizing conference tracks. It relies on participation by people who have a passion for the topics to be discussed. There is no preplanned list of topics, only time slots and a space in the main meeting room where interested participants propose topics and pick time slots.

How an OpenSpace Works

OpenSpace is a small set of rules that allow groups of people to interact in a simple, productive, organized way to create valuable dialogs that address the participants’ most important issues.

  • Whoever shows up is the right group
  • Whatever happens is the only thing that could have
  • Whenever it starts is the right time
  • When it’s over, it’s over.

To lead an OpenSpace Talk:

  • Come up with an interesting topic and title for your discussion.
  • You don’t need to develop these before the conference; most of the ideas will come to you during the event.
  • Fill out a schedule Post-It for your topic.
  • Place the topic on the schedule.
  • If you see topics that have something in common, consider combining them into a single time slot.
  • If a significant number of people want to attend your discussion and another discussion in the same time slot, try to trade into another time slot to ensure maximum dialog and participation.

To attend an OpenSpace Talk:

  • Check the schedule and sign up for a talk or just drop in if you wish.
  • Use the ‘Law of two feet.’ If you feel that you are not contributing or benefiting from a presentation, please feel free to move on to something else.
  • Allow the discussion convener to steer his or her topic. If you have an opposing opinion that needs a full time slot you should feel free to add your own OpenSpace slot to discuss the topic.