[OSList] Open Spaces research

Harrison Owen via OSList oslist at lists.openspacetech.org
Fri Nov 14 06:32:56 PST 2014

Brian... Nice to hear from you. And, as you already know or will shortly
find out, solid research regarding Open Space is in very short supply. For
reasons best known to itself, Academe has assiduously avoided the subject.
With the exception of a few dissertations, all good and useful to be sure,
there has never been (to the best of my knowledge) any serious, peer
reviewed research. Odd, to say the least. I do have my suspicions as to the
rationale, or lack thereof...but it is pretty much virgin territory with
lots of rich findings just waiting for discovery.


What Academe has chosen to ignore has not gone unnoticed, and I don't think
it would be stretching a point to say that OSLIST, this funny old listserve,
is in fact a multiyear research conference conducted by the folks who know
it best - the practitioners of Open Space from all over the world. It may
not observe the standard protocols -- random, double blind studies and such
-- but the discussion is rigorous and quite often heated. Lots to look at.


And if you will forgive a personal note, you might check out my last book,
"Wave Rider: Leadership for High Performance in a Self Organizing World" It
struck me some years ago that Open Space sets itself up very nicely as a
Natural Experiment. We have clearly defined experimental pre-conditions, a
standard process, with comparable outcomes. As a Natural Experiment, the
standard controls are largely absent, however in the way of natural
experiments, very large numbers tend to make up for this lack. In the case
of Open Space, there have been roughly 300,000 iterations of the experiment,
conducted in 146 countries over 29 years. The book is essentially my "Final
Report." The personal biases are obvious, but I think the data is pretty
strong. Enjoy.




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From: OSList [mailto:oslist-bounces at lists.openspacetech.org] On Behalf Of
Bryan Rill via OSList
Sent: Friday, November 14, 2014 12:34 AM
To: oslist at lists.openspacetech.org
Subject: [OSList] Open Spaces research


Dear Harrison and other Open Spacers,


I would like introduce myself and make a request regarding research into the
efficacy of Open Spaces. 


My name is Bryan, and I recently founded the Co-Creation Institute at the
Hong Kong Polytechnic University. CCI, as we call it here, is a space to
facilitate personal and organizational transformation, with a strong base in
presence and reflective dialogue. Our objective is to create new cultures of
innovation that combine interactive environments with co-creative
facilitation. I invite you to explore our program, but more importantly I
would like to know more about existing research. Co-Creation and presence
training will benefit from empirical research, and I am now looking for
related research projects to inspect the methodology, issues raised, and
future directions that we may push. 


Open Spaces integrates many of the principles that we draw inspiration from,
and I am planning on implementing it as a framework within CCI. While I have
read many discussions and the text on Open spaces, I would like to find out
more about how others have conducted research. If anyone has such
information, please contact me any time. Our program would benefit from your

Kindest Regards,

Bryan Rill, PhD
Director, Co-Creation Institute
Hong Kong Polytechnic University
School of Design
brrill at polyu.edu.hk

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