SV: Another hour and 15 minutes? (X-posted OS/GC lists)

Thomas Herrmann thomas at
Thu May 3 02:34:57 PDT 2007

Dear fabulous Lisa

Thanks for your response. It went to me directly but I just assume it was
intended for the list, so here it goes.


Agree with what you wrote about having speakers etc first but the time –
according to how the overall design is right now, will not make that


So, I have not yet had a chance to speak more than briefly with the
organizer – and got some info via email. Don´t know for sure if they are
flexible to the plan they sent me. I will share some reflections with them
and then we´ll arrange a pre-meeting to find out what they want more than
open up some space. The event will be in November.


The OS-afternoon will, according to the current plan, be at the same time as
there are multiple workshops to choose from. So maybe 100 or several
hundred. They will have to make choice when registering. 

So the plan is to have these workshops the afternoon of the first day + one
hour and 15 minutes in the morning the 2nd day. Then a couple of lectures
and finally a summarizing “debate-kind-of-thing” lead by a “famous” Swedish
journalist...quite traditional.


I like your idea of using Worldcafé for the extra time the 2nd day – that´s
a good option which might fit in the design. But I find it difficult not to
have a closing to the OST, but do understand your point! So one way, you
mean, could be to use Worldcafé as an invitation to reflect on what happened
the afternoon before – kind of closing? 


Had another email from Kerry, off line, to invite people to form virtual
action teams to outline plans for priorities voted on the first day. Is also
an option which may fit! That might be combined with a closing circle for
the OST – but then they will have to go on to these lectures....or use their
feet. This design could allow for 3 sessions the first day + evening news.
Then morning news, re-opening, short action meetings, closing circle. A bit
stuffed, but could work too.


As mentioned, the choice of design will be informed once we know more about
the purpose/theme for the OST-meeting.

Lots of hugs and thanks – I will let you know how it goes.





Från: Lisa Heft [mailto:lisaheft at] 
Skickat: den 3 maj 2007 01:18
Till: thomas at
Ämne: RE: Another hour and 15 minutes? (X-posted OS/GC lists)


Hi, fabulous Thomas –


You wrote:

< I have been invited to facilitate an OST meeting as part of a large 1,5
day national conference. About 1000 participants who will be able to choose
different workshops for the major part and have some gatherings together
too. The sponsor wants to have an OST-meeting for 4 hours the afternoon of
the first day as one option to other workshop kind of stuff – and there is a
possibility to use another hour and fifteen minutes the following morning –
before the whole group meets again for the rest of that day.  Of course it
sounds interesting to get some more time but I am not sure how to design
this. Of course we will have some pre-planning but I am already starting to
think about possibilities to use that extra time. Any ideas??>


I always counsel conference organizers to use Open Space for the *last* 4
hours of the conference – sort of a ‘what do we all want to learn and share
together before we all go our separate ways?’.  You know this of course,
Thomas – if OS happens earlier there is the possibility that the
participants will not want to sit still in the more traditional workshops
after that.  But perhaps you have already had this conversation with the
organizers and this afternoon-of-first-day is what you have.  I have had the
okay experience where if you put the OS in the late afternoon and people get
to leave after that (go to dinner, do whatever) the energy keeps
‘percolating’ – I would caution against the conference doing anything to
‘close’ the afternoon and that energy.


Is the entire conference doing the OS?  Or just some participants? To me
that may help inform how you use the 1.5 hours the next morning.  It is
possible though, either way, that you could I suppose use it for people
sharing their experiences from the day before.  It might be interesting to
use World Cafe as a method for that.  Otherwise it will feel like closure
and then the conference has to go on.


I have done short-form OS where we set up for 2000 people because we did not
know how many attendees would come and it was a 2,600-person conference.  It
all worked well – as usual, it can be a bit tricky to design the appropriate
text for the program and multiple messages throughout the conference to give
participants an idea of / interest in / draw to the Open Space portion – but
you know how to do that, as well, dear Thomas...


Waving to you from sunny California,



L i s a   H e f t

Consultant, Facilitator, Educator

O p e n i n g  S p a c e

 <mailto:lisaheft at> lisaheft at




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