Small Group OS

owen owen at
Wed Feb 10 17:00:34 PST 1999

At 01:19 PM 2/10/99 -0400, you wrote:
> Friends,
> Are there any special considerations when using Open Space with a small group
> within a small company--say 7-12 people?

The smallest group I have ever worked with is 5. It wasn't intended that way --
but that's the way it turned out. We were supposed to have 12, but snow came
instead, and only 5 showed up. I told the folks that I had never done this
before, but they were welcome to try if they wanted. They did. Frankly I
thought the whole thing would be over by 10 am, but at 7 that night I had to
tell people that I was exhausted and they should carry on if they were of a
mind to do so. (They did)

What intrigues me was that group meet in every permutation of 5 possible 3-2,
2-2 with one out, all at once etc. I found it very difficult to stay out of the
way -- but not impossible. The only thing that happened which does not happen
(ordinarily) in a larger gathering was that the group met all at once. Anyhow
it really seemed to work at all levels.

Years later I have heard about Family Therapists who use Open Space (they say)
with families to good effect. If that is true, I guess the smallest group is 2.


Harrison Owen
7808 River Falls Drive
Potomac, MD 20854   USA
301-469-9269 (phone)
301-983-9314 (fax)
email owen at
Open Space Institute website
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