Open Space Technology

Open Space Technology (OST) was the starting point for the SOS concept. OST clears away all the clutter of meetings - and gets things done.

One story bears a retelling. The 1996 Atlanta Olympics AT&T's pavilion move.

By December of 1995, AT&T had already spent ten months designing their Olympic pavilion situated on the outskirts of the Olympic Village.
Then the Olympic Committee asked if they could put it in the centre of Atlanta. The big advantage to AT&T was that instead of an estimated 5,000 visitors a day they estimated nearer 75,000, too big an opportunity for "exposure" for AT&T to resist.

The problem was that they now had only had around 6 months to make the move, not counting the expected breaks for Christmas and New Year.

Using Open Space Technology and starting virtually from scratch, the group managed to do in two days what should, going by previous experience, take 10 months. The end design was acknowledged to be better, cheaper and perhaps more amazingly the people involved ended up as strong friends.
For more on this story see Harrison Owen's account.



The man himself - Harrison Owen at TEDx

Should you need an Open Space facilitator for an SOS meeting you can find them here.

There is much more on Open Space Technology on Wikipedia and the Unconference folks or there's the "official" guide - where it all began.

The UK charity Mind, have a great explanation here Mind - OST and there are many more testimonials, including one where Appreciative Inquiry was used in conjunction with Open Space Technology - here OST plus AI