Is Open like Open Space?

I was talking to a friend today about Open Seattle and he said, “This is like Open Space, right?

Actually, Open is nothing like Open Space. But I can see why he made the connection. In 2009, I was working for Youth Specialties and we decided to take a bold risk in introducing a new convening methodology to the National Youth Workers Convention. Open Space wasn’t something YS created, it was more like we introduced the technology of Open Space to the youth ministry world and asked them to conduct an experiment with us.

Open is not open space. (I really like open space, this just isn’t the same thing though.) Actually, format-wise, Open will be like a lot of conferences. There will be an opening and closing ceremony.

But sandwiched between those ceremonies will be a bunch of rapid fire sessions. There will be two tracks of learning and every 35-45 minutes there will be a new presenter. You will be free to move back and forth or in whatever configuration you want. The speaker will make their presentation and then allow for 10 minutes or so of feedback and questions. Then there will be a brief break while the next person sets up, we’ll introduce the next speaker, and off that person will go.

What makes open unique isn’t necessarily the format. (Although, the organizing team could decide to change it all up!) Open is unique in that it’s open to anyone. We don’t have speakers booked yet because we want to know what people in the community want to hear and who they want to hear from.

Long story short, Open isn’t the same as open space at all.

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